1-800-Flowers: 1Q loss despite sales growth

Interns at 1-800-Flowers assemble arrangements during training at

Interns at 1-800-Flowers assemble arrangements during training at the company's Carle Place headquarters. From left, Alan Croitoru, of Miami; Robert Liberto, of Bellmore; Sarah Melley, of Merrick, and Kaitlyn Cardone, of Long Beach. (July 25, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

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1-800-Flowers.com reported higher sales but an overall loss for the quarter ended Sept. 30, a period when a paucity of holidays usually results in weaker results.

The Carle Place-based florist said Thursday it lost $4.6 million in the period, its fiscal first quarter, compared to a loss of $740,000 in the same period last year. Sales for the company last quarter totaled $120.9 million, an increase from $117.2 million in 2011.

The company attributed the loss to the lack of a gifting holiday over the summer months that the quarter covered. 1-800-Flowers' loss in the same quarter for 2011 was reduced by the sale of its winery services division, which resulted in a gain.

The company lost seven cents per share last quarter, compared to a gain of one cent last year, according to the earnings report. Earnings per share were in line with analyst estimates.

"We remain cognizant of the continued challenges in the current environment and, as such, will continue to focus on managing those aspects of our business that we can control and thereby drive enhanced top and bottom-line results," chief executive Jim McCann said in a news release.

McCann added that the current quarter is historically the strongest in revenues and profits for the company's Gourmet Food and Gift Basket division because of the upcoming holiday season.

1-800-Flowers also maintained its guidance for the next year, expecting revenue to grow in the single digits and earnings to increase by double-digit figures.

The company's stock closed at $3.55 Thursday, up 3.20 percent for the day.

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