Wilsons Lost $77.5 Million in 2007

Minneapolis Wilsons The Leather Experts Inc. announced Tuesday results for the fourth quarter and its fiscal year ended Feb. 2.

Net sales for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 2, decreased 8.7% to $121.4 million, compared to $133 million for the same period last year. Fourth quarter same-store sales decreased slightly by 2.4% compared to a steep decrease of 21.6% during the same period last year. The company also reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $8.4 million.

Net sales for the year ended Feb. 2, decreased by 12.7% to $280.4 million, compared to $321.3 million last year. Same-store sales for the 2007 fiscal year decreased 10.4% compared to a decrease of 17.2% for the same period last year. The company’s 2007 net loss was $77.5 million.

The retailer confirmed that it will close 160 stores and convert the remaining units to its new “Studio” format.

“Since Wilsons missed the mark on improving top and bottom lines, we have taken a step back from a working-capital perspective,” said CEO Michael Searles. “A mall-based specialty leather outerwear concept is no longer relevant in today’s marketplace, so we are now embarking on a course of action that includes closing 160 mall stores and changing our 100 remaining mall stores to our new branded accessories ‘Studio’ concept.”