July 12, 2012, 5:04 PM

The web grows 6% for School Specialty

E-commerce accounted for 18% of sales in fiscal 2012.

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2012 web sales grew year over year 6.0% to $133.2 million for School Specialty.

E-commerce sales were about the only numbers that went up in an otherwise down fiscal 2012 for School Specialty Inc., a direct marketer of learning materials for teachers and consumers.

In a new financial filing for the fiscal year ended April 28 with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, School Specialty, No. 135 in the 2012 Internet Retailer Top 500, reported:

  • Web sales as a percent of total revenue totaled 18.2% compared with 16.5% in fiscal 2011. Based on those numbers, e-commerce sales grew year over year 6.0% to $133.2 million from $125.7 million.
  • Total sales decreased 3.9% to $732.0 million from $762.1 million in fiscal 2011.
  • Net loss was $134.0 million compared with a net loss of $356.3 million in fiscal 2011.

“The company completed a debt refinancing of $270 million in late May and while market conditions will continue to be challenging this school year, we expect an uneven recovery should start to emerge as we enter into the next fiscal year,” says CEO Michael Lavelle. “The completion of our refinancing gives us the flexibility to put into place the initiatives that will begin to position the company’s transformation and turnaround.”

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

  • Total sales declined 6.4% to $119.3 million from $127.4 million in Q4 fiscal 2011.
  • Net loss was $51.8 million compared to $22.6 million in the prior year.

“While the fourth quarter is typically a seasonally slow quarter, on a comparable week basis, educational resources showed revenue gains and margin improvements,” Lavelle says. “Accelerated learning sales were impacted by ongoing delays in curriculum purchases as school districts held off buying related to common core standards and pending assessments.”

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