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1-800-Flowers.com&#039s 4Q fails to ignite shares

1-800-Flowers.com (Nasdaq: FLWS)'s fourth-quarter loss of $3.4 million, or 8 cents a share, scraped by First Call estimates by a penny, but still failed to get the stock above its offering price of $21.

In early trading Thursday, 1-800-Flowers.com was off 1 3/4 to 17 7/8.

Results for the fourth quarter ended June 27 -- the company's first as a public company -- showed $92.2 million in net revenue, an increase of 24 percent compared with revenue of $74.4 million in the same quarter a year ago. A year ago, the company reported a fourth quarter profit of $2.3 million or 5 cents a share.

The company said the decline was due to investment in marketing & sales and technology & development, and was offset by a slightly higher gross margin, at 39.3 percent of total net revenue.

The 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. IPO, originally priced at $21, is a now a footnote in this summer's batch of "broken" IPO stories. The offering raised about $115.7 million in net proceeds.

The revenue breakdown showed 62.5 percent of revenue came from telephonic services, 24.6 percent from online and 12.9 percent from retail. The increase was driven by expansion of the Company's online revenue, which grew 116.9 percent, according to the company release.

The fourth quarter is typically 1-800-Flowers.com's largest, as it includes Mother's Day, Secretaries' Week and Easter. Total customer base grew by 625,000 to 7.8 million from 7.2 million during the quarter. Telephonic customer count grew by 419,000, while online customers increased by 206,000.

Fourth quarter results included $3.9 million Class C common stock dividends, which will no longer be recorded. Total net revenue for the year ended June 27, 1999 was $295.9 million, a 34.1 percent increase compared with revenues a year ago. Fiscal 1999 net loss was $6.8 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with net income of $5.1 million in fiscal 1998. First Call predicted a loss of 28 cents a share for the year.

Highlights for the quarter included an equity injection of about $101.6 million from a group of investors including Benchmark Capital Partners, Chase Venture Capital Associates, Softbank America, Inc., and Walinvest S.A., an affiliate of LVMH Mot Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A. Softbank owns 70 percent of Ziff Davis.