Pep Boys posts net 4Q loss despite increase in comp sales

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Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack posted a net loss of $1.25 million on sales of $529 million for the fourth quarter ending Jan. 31, 2004. That compares to a net loss of $1.83 million on sales of $466 million for the same period a year ago.

Adjusted net earnings from continuing operations were $6.3 million for the quarter. That does not include $10.2 million in fourth-quarter charges aimed at:

* writing down POC store system assets under development,

* transitioning certain executives from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution pension plan, and

* net earnings from discontinued operations.

In addition to the 13.6% increase in sales, Pep Boys recorded a 15.6% increase in comparable merchandise sales and a 5.1% increase in comparable service revenue. Overall, comparable store sales were up 14%.

"While we are very pleased with our fourth quarter results, we are in the early stages of our retail renewal, and I would caution that comp sales were driven by new products introduced during the Christmas selling season and may be difficult to repeat," said CEO Larry Stevenson.

For the fiscal year, Pep Boys recorded a net loss of $32.1 million on sales of $2.13 billion. That compares to a net loss of $43.8 million on sales of $2.1 billion the previous fiscal year.

Pep Boys has 595 stores and more than 6,000 service bays in 36 states and Puerto Rico.

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