March 3, 2009, 12:00 AM

LeapFrog’s 2008 web sales jump 20%

The developer and retailer of learning products posted $16 million in web sales last year, up 20% from 2007, as total sales rose 4% to $459.1 million.

Web sales at LeapFrog Enterprises Inc., a developer and retailer of learning products for children, rose about 20% to $16 million for the year ended Dec. 31, as total sales rose 4% to $459.1 million from $442.3 million. The web accounted for 3.5% of total sales in 2008, up from 2.9% in 2007.

U.S.-only full-year sales increased 7% year over year to $363.4 million from $338.9 million, as international full-year sales fell 7% to $95.7 million from $103.4 million.

LeapFrog, No. 403 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, says its net loss for 2008 narrowed to $68.3 million from $101.3 million the prior year.

Fourth quarter web sales rose 10% year over year, though the company didn’t break out web dollars for the quarter. But it says an unusually weak fourth quarter caused by the general economic downturn sent the quarter’s total sales down 24% year over year to $137.8 million. As a result, a 23% year-over-year rise in total sales for the first nine months, sparked largely by the launch of new online educational games, turned into a full-year gain of only 4%.

Fourth quarter U.S.-only sales fell 22% to $105.3 million from $134.4 million a year earlier, as fourth quarter international sales declined 31% to $32.5 million from $46.9 million.

Net loss for the fourth quarter widened by 3.6% to $44.3 million from a year-earlier net loss of $32.6 million.

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