September 25, 2013, 10:29 AM

Web sales shine as retailer School Specialty negotiates bankruptcy

E-commerce accounted for 21% of sales in fiscal 2013.

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Web sales were about the only numbers that grew in another down fiscal year for School Specialty Inc., a direct marketer of learning materials for teachers and consumers, which filed for bankruptcy in January 2013.

In a new financial filing for the 2013 fiscal year ended April 27 with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, School Specialty, No. 164 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500, reported:

  • Web sales represented 21.3% of revenue compared with 18.2% in fiscal 2012. Based on those numbers, e-commerce sales grew year over year 7.9% to $143.8 million from $133.2 million.
  • Total sales decreased 7.8% to $675.0 million from $732.0 million in fiscal 2012.
  • Net loss was $147.7 million compared with a net loss of $134.0 million in fiscal 2012.

"While we're not in a robust educational spending environment today, signs do point to increased funding and the uptick in our order flow is a positive sign that our business has stabilized consistent with our projections,” says Jim Henderson, chairman of the board and interim president and CEO. “Our balance sheet has also significantly improved with our total debt cut in half post-emergence and we are focusing on our working capital management to further improve cash generation.”

School Specialty doesn’t break out quarterly e-commerce sales but for the fourth quarter did report:

  • Total sales declined 13.4% to $105.2 million from $119.3 million in Q4 fiscal 2012.
  • Net loss was $70.3 million compared to $51.8 million in the prior year.
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