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CELEX GROUP HAS RECORD SALES AND PROFITS FOR THIRD FISCAL QUARTER AND NINE MONTHS

 CHICAGO, March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- CELEX Group, Inc., the publicly held creator and marketer of proprietary products for business and personal motivation, today reported sales of $4,562,049 and net income of $781,917, or 41 cents per share, for the third quarter ended Jan. 31, 1993. Sales were 156 percent over the same period a year ago.
 Mac Anderson, chairman and president, said that the increase for the year to date was primarily attributable to the growth in the number of its Successories retail stores to 35 locations currently from only two at this time a year ago. He further said that direct mail orders from the company's catalog as well as from magazine advertising also had boosted sales and earnings substantially.
 "Our third quarter, the November-January period, is historically strong because it includes the time when corporations purchase awards for their top performers and give gifts to their best customers," Anderson said.
 For the third fiscal quarter ended Jan. 31, 1993, net income reached $781,917, equal to 41 cents per share, a sharp contrast with the $73,000 profit, equal to 4 cents per share, for fiscal 1992's third quarter. Sales rose 156 percent to $4,562,049 from $1,780,000 for the like period a year ago.
 For the nine months through January 1993, net income rose to $1,645,509, or 86 cents per share, compared with only $172,142, or 9 cents per share, for the first three quarters of fiscal 1992. Sales were $9,855,656, a 144 percent gain over the $4,029,719 reported for the first nine months of fiscal 1992.
 Anderson now believes that the company will exceed his earlier forecast of sales of $12 million for the current fiscal year and net profits should be in excess of 15 percent of sales.
 Margins Expand Sharply
 Profit margin improvement was striking, Anderson noted. It was basically attributable to much lower expenses in proportion to the sales increase. The gross margin for the year to date improved to 63.6 percent from 58.6 percent a year ago, and the net margin reached 16.7 percent compared with 4.3 percent for the first nine months of fiscal 1992.
 Growth Comes from All Three Distribution Channels
 Anderson pointed out that while the rapid growth in the number of retail outlets was an obvious contributor to the growth in revenues, he expressed particular satisfaction that the company's other distribution channels -- direct mail and direct sales -- also made substantial contributions.
 A new edition of the company's catalog, published and released in January, was expanded to 64 pages from the earlier 48-page edition, and contains over 100 new products, according to Anderson. The catalog, like the Successories stores, offers books with motivational and business themes, lithographs, plaques, posters, desk accessories, recognition awards and motivational greeting cards.
 Trend Toward Company-Owned Retail Stores
 Of the company's 35 retail locations, 17 are held by franchisees. Anderson said the company's strategy calls for a greater emphasis on company-owned stores in markets with populations in excess of 1,000,000 people. In this connection, the company in January purchased four successful Indiana stores in exchange for CELEX stock.
 Anderson said he foresees 300 retail locations by 1995. Most will be in malls, while smaller stores will be in convention hotels and airports. Center aisle kiosks, utilizing a custom fixture, also are working very well in high-traffic malls, according to Anderson.
 Financial Condition Strengthened
 The company's financial condition improved appreciably during the past nine months. As a result of the purchase of the Indiana stores alone, assets rose by some $500,000. Compared with year end April 1992, assets are now $5.75 million, up 125 percent from $2,559,919. Shareholders' equity, at $2.87 million, is 3.7 times higher than the $783,933 at last fiscal year's end. Working capital has expanded to $1.7 million from less than $450,000 at Jan. 31, 1992. Long-term debt remains at approximately $500,000.
 NASDAQ Listing Planned
 The company is filing for listing on Nasdaq, which it expects to gain by late spring or early summer, Anderson said.
 CELEX GROUP, INC.
 Condensed Consolidated Statement of Operating Results
 Period ended Three months
 Jan. 31 1993 1992
 Net sales $ 4,562,049 $1,780,000
 Cost of goods sold 1,683,062 743,000
 Operating expenses 2,055,728 908,000
 Operating profit (loss) 823,259 129,000
 Interest expense - net 46,264 48,000
 Other income (expense) 4,922 (8,000)
 Income before income taxes
 and extraordinary credits 781,917 73,000
 Income taxes 294,000 23,000
 Income before extra. credits 487,917 50,000
 Extraordinary credits
 tax loss carry forward 294,000 23,000
 Gain on sale of investment -- --
 Net income $ 781,917 $ 73,000
 Per share of common stock -
 income before extra. credits $.25 $ .03
 Net income $.41 $ .04
 Average shares outstanding 1,919,060 1,883,060
 Nine months ended Jan. 31,
 1993 1992
 Net Sales $9,855,656 $4,029,719
 Cost of goods sold 3,589,800 1,670,284
 Operating expenses 4,478,196 2,520,119
 Operating profit (loss) 1,787,660 (160,684)
 Interest expense - net 106,219 125,453
 Other income (expense) (35,932) 128,279
 Income before income taxes
 and extraordinary credits 1,645,509 (157,858)
 Income taxes 629,000 --
 Income before extra. credits 1,016,509 (157,858)
 extraordinary credits
 Tax loss carry forward 629,000 --
 Gain on sale of investment -- 330,000
 Net income $1,645,509 $172,142
 Per share of common stock -
 Income before extra. credits $.53 $(.08)
 Net income $.86 $. 09
 Average shares outstanding 1,919,060 1,883,060
 CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
 at Jan. 31,
 1993 1992
 Current assets $4,033,801 $1,687,803
 Property & equipment - net 804,748 388,468
 Other assets 912,328 482,087
 Total assets 5,750,877 2,559,919
 Current liabilities 2,364,248 1,246,660
 Long-term debt 514,582 529,326
 Stockholders' equity 2,872,047 783,933
 -0- 03/01/93
 /CONTACT: Jim Allison, vice president - finance of CELEX Group, Inc., 708-953-8440; or Jim Tolan, sr. vice president of O'Connor Biro & Associates, 708-498-2284/


CO: CELEX Group, Inc. ST: Illinois IN: SU: ERN

AH -- NY090 -- 1559 03/01/93 15:52 EST
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Date:Mar 1, 1993
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