The Brick Group reports 23.9% EBITDA growth in its record breaking fourth quarter and 18.7% record EBITDA growth for the year 2007



    /NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION THROUGH U.S. NEWS WIRE SERVICES OR DISSEMINATION IN
    THE U.S/

    EDMONTON, March 18 /CNW/ - (TSX:BRK.UN) - The Brick Group Income Fund
(the "Brick Group") today announced its financial results for the fourth
quarter and year ended December 31, 2007. The Brick Group's fourth quarter
results and Management's Discussion and Analysis can be found on the Brick
Group's website at www.thebrickgroup.ca.
    In the fourth quarter, the Brick Group once again delivered record
breaking sales and EBITDA. For the fourth quarter, the Brick Group's EBITDA of
$27.9 million was the highest ever reported for a quarter, representing 23.9%
growth over the fourth quarter of 2006. For the year, EBITDA of $80.7M
represented growth of 18.7% over the prior year and was also a record for the
company.
    Fourth quarter consolidated and franchise sales and operating revenue was
$447.0 million, including $37.9 million of franchise sales, compared to
$410.8 million, including $31.2 million of franchise sales, in the same
quarter last year, representing an 8.8% increase. For the year, consolidated
and franchise sales and operating revenue was $1.57 billion, including
$120.0 million of franchise sales, compared to $1.42 billion, including
$93.2 million of franchise sales, in the prior year, representing a 10.3%
increase.
    Same store corporate sales growth was 6.3% in the fourth quarter and 6.4%
for the year and continued to be strong in both Eastern and Western Canada.
This was driven by a strong promotional calendar and more effective execution
of delivering our written sales. This was our eighth consecutive quarter of
positive same store sales growth.
    The Brick Group's payout ratio for the year was 88.0%, a significant
improvement of 8.7 ppts from the prior year ratio. This marks the first time
that the payout ratio has fallen under 90% since becoming an income fund.
    The Brick Group has also exceeded the financial tests required to
terminate the subordination arrangements with respect to the Class B Trust
Units of the Brick Group currently held by the founder of the Brick Group,
William Comrie. Accordingly, upon the approval of the Brick Group's year end
audited financial statements by its Board of Trustees which occurred today,
the subordination arrangements are terminated. As a result, cash available to
make distributions will be paid monthly to all unitholders pro rata,
commencing April, 2008. Class B Trust Units are also now exchangeable for
Class A Trust Units of the Brick Group on a one-for-one basis at the option of
Mr. Comrie.
    "We have accomplished what we set out to do at the start of the year,"
said Kim Yost, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We have driven down our
cost structure, improved upon operating efficiencies, and increased our
EBITDA. Our strong results for the year have validated our prior year
strategic initiatives. For the year ahead, we believe we are well positioned
to succeed against the economic and competitive challenges and will continue
to drive the benefits of our prior year key strategic initiatives, while
growing our store and sales base of operations to the next level."
    The Brick Group also announced today that it has secured commitments from
its existing syndicate of lenders to refinance its operating credit facilities
of $100 million for a 3 year term. Closing of the refinancing is subject to
the satisfaction of customary conditions, and is expected to occur on or about
April 15, 2008.
    As announced on January 14, 2008, the Brick Group is currently in the
process of identifying and selecting a new Chief Financial Officer following
the resignation of Mike Borys, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial
Officer. The Brick Group has retained Spencer Stuart to assist in this search.

    
    The following are some key highlights, compared to the same period last
    year:

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                     For the three months ended December 31
                                   ------------------------------------------
    (000's of $ except %,                               $ Increase % Increase
     and store amounts)                2007       2006  (Decrease) (Decrease)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Retail Segment - Sales and
     operating revenue             $395,731   $369,403     26,328       7.1%
    Financial Services Segment -
     Sales and operating revenue     13,401     10,281      3,120      30.3%
                                   -------------------
    Consolidated - Sales and
     operating revenue              409,132    379,684     29,448       7.8%
    Franchise Sales                  37,881     31,155      6,726      21.6%
                                   -------------------
    Consolidated and Franchise
     Sales and operating revenue   $447,013   $410,839     36,174       8.8%
                                   -------------------
                                   -------------------
    Same Store Sales Growth
     (corporate stores)                6.3%       6.2%
    Same Store Sales Growth
     (corporate and franchise
     stores)                           6.1%       6.2%

    Retail Segment - EBITDA         $19,806    $16,987      2,819      16.6%
    Financial Services Segment -
     EBITDA                           8,112      5,554      2,558      46.1%
                                   -------------------
    Consolidated - EBITDA           $27,918    $22,541      5,377      23.9%
                                   -------------------
                                   -------------------

    Retail Segment - Net income
     (loss)                         $14,699     $8,380      6,319      75.4%
    Financial Services Segment -
     Net income                       7,903      6,248      1,655      26.5%
                                   -------------------
      Consolidated - Net income     $22,602    $14,628      7,974      54.5%
                                   -------------------
                                   -------------------

    EBITDA - Adjusted               $29,732    $25,347      4,385      17.3%
    Distributable cash per unit
     for the three months ended
     December 31                      $0.47      $0.40       0.07      17.3%
    Payout Ratio for the three
     months ended December 31         63.5%      74.4%
    Distributable cash per unit
     for the twelve months ended
     December 31
    Payout Ratio for the twelve
    months ended December 31

    Stores at period end                210        201
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                     For the three months ended December 31
                                   ------------------------------------------
    (000's of $ except %,                               $ Increase % Increase
     and store amounts)                2007       2006  (Decrease) (Decrease)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Retail Segment - Sales and
     operating revenue           $1,398,543 $1,291,804   106,739        8.3%
    Financial Services Segment -
     Sales and operating revenue     49,033     36,517    12,516       34.3%
                                   -------------------
    Consolidated - Sales and
     operating revenue            1,447,576  1,328,321   119,255        9.0%
    Franchise Sales                 120,017     93,180    26,837       28.8%
                                   -------------------
    Consolidated and Franchise
     Sales and operating revenue $1,567,593 $1,421,501   146,092       10.3%
                                   -------------------
                                   -------------------
    Same Store Sales Growth
     (corporate stores)                6.4%       6.1%
    Same Store Sales Growth
     (corporate and franchise
     stores)                           6.2%       6.1%

    Retail Segment - EBITDA         $52,617    $46,553     6,064       13.0%
    Financial Services Segment -
     EBITDA                          28,061     21,407     6,654       31.1%
                                   -------------------
    Consolidated - EBITDA           $80,678    $67,960    12,718       18.7%
                                   -------------------
                                   -------------------

    Retail Segment - Net income
     (loss)                        $(23,734)   $13,656   (37,390)    -273.8%
    Financial Services Segment -
     Net income                      28,687     24,274     4,413       18.2%
                                   -------------------
      Consolidated - Net income      $4,953    $37,930   (32,977)     -86.9%
                                   -------------------
                                   -------------------

    EBITDA - Adjusted               $89,896    $79,538    10,358       13.0%
    Distributable cash per unit
     for the three months ended
     December 31
    Payout Ratio for the three
     months ended December 31
    Distributable cash per unit
     for the twelve months ended
     December 31                      $1.36      $1.24      0.12        9.8%
    Payout Ratio for the twelve
    months ended December 31          88.0%      96.7%

    Stores at period end                210        201
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    -   Surpassing the record set in the third quarter of 2007, the Brick
        Group's EBITDA of $27.9 million, and consolidated net income of
        $22.6 million, were the highest ever reported for a quarter.

    -   Fourth quarter sales and operating revenue of $409.1 million,
        increased by 7.8% or $29.4 million, over the same quarter in 2006.
        This increase was primarily driven by retail segment same store sales
        growth of 6.3%. As was the case in the third quarter, improved supply
        chain management in conjunction with a strong promotional calendar
        was key to driving strong same store sales growth. Management's
        decision to build inventory levels, especially within the electronics
        segment, to drive cash and carry sales, further enhanced same store
        and total store sales growth in the fourth quarter. This was our
        eighth consecutive quarter of positive same store sales growth.

    -   Consolidated sales and operating revenue for the year of
        $1.45 billion represented an increase of 9.0% over the prior year,
        driven by same store sales growth of 6.4%, 12 new corporate and
        franchise stores, and a 34.3% growth in our financial services
        segment.

    -   Fourth quarter consolidated EBITDA of $27.9 million represented an
        increase of 23.9% over the same quarter in 2006. We continued our
        progress from the third quarter in driving improvements in key
        revenue and expense line items, most notably within our supply chain
        infrastructure. Consolidated Selling, General and Administrative
        (SG&A) expense, as a percentage of sales and operating revenue, was
        below prior year levels for a second quarter in a row. EBITDA, as a
        percentage of sales and operating revenue, increased by 0.9 ppts over
        the same quarter last year.

    -   Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of $29.7 million increased by
        17.3%, or $4.4 million, over the same quarter in 2006.

    -   Adjusted EBITDA for the year of $89.9 million represented an increase
        of 13.0%, or $10.4 million, over the prior year.

    -   Distributable cash per unit (DCPU) of $0.47 increased by $0.07, or
        17.3%, when compared to the same quarter of 2006. For the year, DCPU
        or 9.8%, when compared to the prior year.

    -   Through the end of December 31, 2007, and for the 41st consecutive
        month since becoming an income fund, we have continued to meet all of
        our distribution commitments. This represents just over $234 million
        distributed to our unitholders. The payout ratio for the year ended
        December 31, 2007 was 88.0%, reflecting an improvement of 8.7 ppts
        from the prior year ratio. Management is pleased to see the results
        of its strategic initiatives from 2006, and its focus in 2007 in
        driving past sales and EBITDA targets reflected in a payout ratio
        that now falls below 90% for the first time since becoming an income
        fund.

    -   Under our alternative view of distributable cash, the payout ratio
        for the year ended December 31, 2007 was 88.8%.

    -   The Brick Group has exceeded the financial tests required to
        terminate the subordination arrangements with respect to the Class B
        Trust Units of the Brick Group currently held by the founder of the
        Brick Group, William Comrie. Effective upon the Board of Trustees'
        approval of the Brick Group's 2007 annual audited financial
        statements, the subordination in respect of the Class B Trust Units
        terminates. As a result, cash available to make distributions will be
        paid monthly to the holders of Class A Trust Units and holders of
        Class B Trust Units pro rata. The Class B Trust Units will become
        exchangeable for Class A Trust Units of the Brick Group on a one-for-
        one basis at the option of the holder.

    Consolidated and Franchise Sales and Operating Revenue
    ------------------------------------------------------

    -   Fourth quarter consolidated and franchise sales and operating revenue
        was $447.0 million, including $37.9 million of franchise sales,
        compared to $410.8 million, including $31.2 million of franchise
        sales, in the same quarter last year, representing an 8.8% increase.
        Same store sales growth for corporate stores together with franchise
        stores was 6.1% compared to 6.2% for the fourth quarter in 2006.

    -   Compared to the same quarter a year ago, sales for franchise stores
        increased by 21.6%, to $37.9 million.

    -   We began the quarter with 31 franchise stores and ended with 33,
        while in 2006, we began the quarter with 25 franchise stores and
        ended with 26.

    -   For the year, consolidated and franchise sales and operating revenue
        was $1.57 billion, including $120.0 million of franchise sales,
        compared to $1.42 billion, including $93.2 million of franchise
        sales, in the prior year, representing a 10.3% increase. Same store
        sales growth for corporate stores together with franchise stores
        was 6.2% compared to 6.1% for the prior year.
    

    Webcast and Investor Call

    Following release, the Brick Group plans to host an investor conference
call at 2 p.m. EST (12 noon MST) on Wednesday, March 19, 2008. To access the
call, please call either (800) 733-7571 or (416) 644-3414 five minutes prior.
For a listen-only version of the conference, log on to
http://www.newswire.ca/en/webcast/viewEvent.cgi?eventID=2178880

    Replay Audience Dial-in Number & Codes:

    From: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 16:00 (4:00 PM) EST
    To: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 23:59 (11:59 PM) EST
    Access Number: 416-640-1917 passcode 21264178 followed by the pound sign

    About the Brick Group

    The Brick Group is one of Canada's largest volume retailers of household
furniture, mattresses, appliances and home electronics, operating under four
banners: The Brick, United Furniture Warehouse, The Brick Superstore, and The
Brick Mattress Store. In addition, through its corporate sales division, the
Brick Group services the subdivision, condominium, and high-rise builder
market. The Brick Group's retail operations are located in British Columbia,
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Nova
Scotia and the Yukon Territory.

    Notice to Readers

    Certain forward-looking statements are made in this news release, within
the meaning of applicable securities laws. These statements reflect the Brick
Group's current expectations and are based on information currently available
to management. The words "may", "will", "should", "believe", "expect, "plan",
"anticipate", "intend", "estimate", "predict", "potential", "continue", or the
negative of these terms, identify forward-looking matters. These statements
speak only as of the date of this press release. The actual results could
differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements.
    Reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements because they
involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may
cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Brick Group to
differ materially from anticipated future results, performance or achievement
expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could
cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in the
forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the
non-satisfaction of any conditions precedent to the completion of the offering
of Notes, fluctuations in interest rates and currency values, legislative and
regulatory developments, legal developments, the occurrence of weather-related
and other natural catastrophes, changes in tax laws, and those risks and
uncertainties detailed in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in the Brick
Group's Management's Discussion and Analysis. The preceding list is not an
exhaustive list of possible factors. These and other factors should be
considered carefully and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on
these forward-looking statements. The Brick Group undertakes no obligation to
publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result
of new information, future events or otherwise, other than as required by
applicable law.





For further information:

For further information: Kim Yost, President and CEO, The Brick Group,
(780) 930-6300, investor@thebrickgroup.ca; Mike Borys, Executive Vice
President and CFO, The Brick Group, (780) 930-6300, investor@thebrickgroup.ca

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