April 30, 2014, 10:58 AM

Severe Valentine’s Day weather hampers 1-800-Flowers

The web-only flowers and gifts merchant reports a 3.3% decline in online sales for its fiscal third quarter.

Lead Photo

Winter weather played havoc on flower deliveries for 1-800-Flowers.

1-800-Flowers.com Inc. had a rough quarter, as severe winter weather that plagued much of the nation around the busy Valentine’s Dayperiod chilled profits.

The retailer says it had to shell out more customer credits associated with weather during the period than expected. Additionally, the Easter holiday falls into the merchant’s fourth fiscal quarter this year, while it was recorded in its third quarter last year. This shift also impacted year-over-year sales results for the third quarter, the merchant says.

For the third quarter ended March 30, 1-800-Flowers, ranked No. 65 in the just-released Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, reported:

  • Online sales of $139.9 million, down 3.3% from $144.6 million in the third quarter of 2013.
  • Total revenue of $179.6 million, a 6.3% decline from $191.6 million.
  • A net loss of $1.7 million compared with net income of $2.6 million last year.

The retailer says 1.6 million customers placed orders during the third quarter, of whom 58.4% were repeat customers. It also acquired 675,000 new customers during the third quarter.

Despite challenges the company faced in the quarter, CEO Jim McCann says its customer service team responded effectively to alleviate shoppers’ concerns.

“Our dedicated customer service associates, including our home agents and our internal social media communications teams, did an exemplary job of responding to each and every customer inquiry and issue we received,” he says. “As a result, we were heartened by the post-holiday accolades we received in the blogosphere for our open and transparent communications policy on Twitter and Facebook. “

For the first nine months of the year, 1-800-Flowers reported:

  • E-commerce sales of $400.9 million, up 0.9% compared with $397.4 million in the first three quarters of 2013.
  • Total sales of $569.0 million, up 1.2% from $562.5 million.
  • Net income of $11.2 million, down 26.3% from $15.2 million last year.

1-800-Flowers.com is the highest-ranked flowers and gifts e-retailer in the new Top 500 Guide. In 2013, the 12 flowers and gifts merchants ranked in the Top 500 brought in a collective total of $1.460 billion in online sales, up 6.7% from $1.368 billion in 2012. The e-commerce sales transacted by these 12 merchants represented 6.7% of all 2013 U.S. retail sales in the flowers and gifts category ($21.81 billion), according to an Internet Retailer analysis of data reported by the U.S. Commerce Department.

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