West 49 Inc.
TSX : WXX

August 18, 2005 17:00 ET

West 49 Sales Increase 63.9% in Second Quarter

BURLINGTON, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 18, 2005) - West 49 Inc. ("West 49") (TSX:WXX) sales increased 63.9% to $26.6 million during the second quarter ended July 30, 2005, compared to $16.2 million in the same period a year ago when West 49 was a private company. Of the $10.3 million increase, $4.2 million was due to the acquisition of Off The Wall during the second quarter. Results from Off The Wall were incorporated with those of West 49 beginning on May 25, 2005.

Comparable store sales rose 11.3% during the second quarter, with West 49 stores experiencing growth of 13.9% in comparable store sales and Off The Wall comparable store sales rising 0.9% for the 68-days in which its sales were incorporated into West 49 Inc. Off The Wall, which is twenty-one years old, operates a more mature group of stores, with eight of its ten locations having been opened for over 5 years.

The company operated 62 West 49 stores, 3 Billabong stores and 10 Off the Wall stores at July 30, 2005 compared to 53 West 49 stores and one Billabong store a year earlier. Subsequent to the quarter end, Off The Wall opened its eleventh store in the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta on August 11th.

"Our increased sales in Q2 were fuelled primarily in two areas. Firstly, the continued strategy of rolling out the West 49 and Off The Wall brands and secondly, due to poor weather in April and May, the West 49 brand took early markdowns to ensure our merchandise did not back up going into the critical Back to School Season." said Salvatore Baio, Chief Executive Officer. "Both strategies were extremely successful. Additionally, we are focused on building a team of people that can successfully manage our continued growth and are investing in better distribution and computer software systems. As a result, for the first half of the year, our bottom line growth may not match our top line performance."

For the first six months of the current fiscal year, total store sales rose 47.9% to $45.4 million. Comparable store sales growth at West 49 stores for the first six months was 12.2%.

The first quarter is traditionally West 49's weakest, with the third and fourth quarters, which include the back-to-school and Christmas holiday periods, being the strongest.

West 49's second quarter results will be released in mid September. The company has changed its fiscal yearend to the last Saturday in January (January 29 in 2005) from February 28. As a result, West 49's quarter-ends have changed as well.

West 49 Inc. is a specialty retailer of apparel, footwear and accessories, with an emphasis on skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing. The Company targets "Generation Y" customers (ages 10 through 18). West 49 operates 65 stores in seven provinces. It also owns Off The Wall, fashion-forward young women's clothing retailer with 10 stores. West 49's shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WXX.

Forward-looking statements

Information in this news release that is not current or historical factual information may constitute forward-looking information. Implicit in this information are assumptions that, although considered reasonable by West 49 at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect. Readers are cautioned that actual results are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties and could differ materially from what is currently expected, including those referred to in West 49's Annual Information Form dated April 29, 2005

Contact Information

  • West 49 Inc.
    Pete Pigott
    Chief Operating Officer
    (905) 336-5454 x 261
    or
    West 49 Inc.
    Kim Mullenger
    Manager of Financial Reporting and Investor Relations
    (905) 336-5454 x 224
    www.west49.com