West 49 Inc. reports first quarter results

Toronto Stock Exchange Symbol: WXX

- Company's financial results on par with the first quarter a year ago -

BURLINGTON, ON, June 10 /CNW/ - West 49 Inc. (TSX: WXX) (the "Company"), Canada's leading action sport retailer, today reported its financial results for its first quarter ended May 1, 2010. All comparisons are to the first quarter of fiscal 2010, ended May 2, 2009.

    First quarter highlights:
    -   Net sales increased 0.2% to $40.9 million;
    -   Selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expense reductions
        offset gross margin decreases;
    -   EBITDA loss improved slightly to $2.1 million from $2.2 million for
        the first quarter of last year; and
    -   The Company opened three new stores, relocated and expanded a store
        and closed a store during the quarter.

"While we had slight improvements in a few areas, our financial results were essentially flat to the first quarter of last year," said Sam Baio, Chief Executive Officer of West 49 Inc. "We did, however, continue to gain efficiencies in our operations and offer unique marketing promotions, which continue to set us apart from other tween and teen retailers."

    Financial Results

    (Amounts in thousands of Canadian $
     except per share amounts and weighted averages)

                                                        First Quarter Ended
                                                   May 1, 2010  May 2, 2009

    Net sales                                             40,873      40,828
    Gross margin                                           7,342       7,416
    EBITDA(1)                                             (2,054)     (2,208)
    Net income (loss)                                     (2,643)     (2,617)
    Basic income (loss) per share                         ($0.04)     ($0.04)
    Weighted average common shares outstanding        63,803,519  63,803,519

Net sales for the quarter increased $0.1 million, or 0.2%, to $40.9 million. Consolidated comparable store sales decreased 2.6%, with the core West 49 banner experiencing a decrease of 3.0%, compared to last year, with comparable store sales growth of 2.9% on a consolidated basis and growth of 7.7% for the West 49 banner. Sales results were particularly challenged in Alberta and British Columbia largely due to weather and the economy.

Gross margin decreased $0.1 million, to $7.3 million. As a rate to net sales, gross margin decreased by 30 basis points to 17.8% as a result of continued pressure in a competitive retail landscape. SG&A expenses decreased $0.2 million to $9.4 million, or 23.0% of net sales.

EBITDA for the quarter was a loss of $2.1 million, slightly improved from the loss of $2.2 million for the first quarter a year ago. The Company had a net loss for the quarter of $2.6 million, or $0.04 per share, unchanged from the prior year.

Store Real Estate Activity

During the quarter, the Company opened a West 49 store at Shoppers' Mall, in Brandon, Manitoba, and two West 49 Outlets: one at Signal Hill Shopping Centre, in Calgary, Alberta and one at Riocan Durham Centre in Ajax, Ontario. The Company also relocated and expanded a D-Tox store in Carrefour Angrignon, Montreal, Quebec. An Off The Wall store was closed in Coquitlam, British Columbia as a result of a lease expiry in an underperforming location.


"Our outlook remains cautiously optimistic." said Mr. Baio. "We continue to operate in a retail environment where overall consumer confidence has yet to be restored. Until then, we will remain focused on our unique marketing programs and offering our customers exceptional value. We also remain committed to real estate growth opportunities, mainly in our core West 49 banner, and have plans to open up to four more stores and relocate and expand as many as five more stores this year."

Notice of Conference Call

The Company will host a conference call on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. (ET) to discuss its fiscal 2011 first quarter results. To access the conference call by telephone, dial 647-427-7450 or 1-888-231-8191. Please connect approximately 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the call to ensure participation. The conference call will be archived for replay until Wednesday, June 17, 2010 at midnight. To access the archived conference call, dial 416-849-0833 or 1-800-642-1687 and enter the reservation number 79269749 followed by the number sign.

A live audio webcast of the Company's first quarter results conference call will be available at http://www.newswire.ca/en/webcast/viewEvent.cgi?eventID=3102000. Please connect at least 15 minutes prior to the conference call to ensure adequate time for any software download that maybe required to join the webcast. The webcast will be archived at the above web site for 90 days.

About West 49 Inc.

West 49 Inc. is a leading Canadian specialty retailer of apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment related to the youth action sports lifestyle. The Company's stores, which are primarily mall-based, carry a variety of high-performance, premium brand name and private label products that fulfill the lifestyle needs of identified target markets, primarily tweens and teens. At May 1, 2010, the Company operated 138 stores in nine provinces, under the banners West 49, Billabong, Off The Wall, Amnesia/Arsenic and D-Tox. The Company's common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WXX. The Company has approximately 64 million shares outstanding.

Follow West 49 Inc. on Twitter at http://twitter.com/West49Inc

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, particularly in respect of future operating results and economic performance of the Company are assumptions regarding projected revenue, gross margin and expenses. The assumptions, although considered reasonable by the Company at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect. Investors are cautioned that forward-looking information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and numerous other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information. When used in this news release, such statements can be identified by such words as "may", "will", "expect", "believe", "plan", "anticipate", "intend", "estimate" and other similar terminology and include, but are not limited in any manner to, those with respect to the Company's objectives and strategies, target markets, product margins, growth and timing of sales, timing of cash flows, capital and operating expenditures, timing of geographic expansion and the Company's competitiveness. The following includes some of the risk factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by any forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of the Company: competition, changes in demographic trends, changes in consumer preferences and discretionary spending patterns, changes in business and economic conditions, human resource matters, legal proceedings, challenges to intellectual property rights, and changes in laws, regulations, and accounting policies and practices. The foregoing list of risk factors is not exhaustive. In formulating the forward-looking information contained herein, management has assumed that business and economic conditions affecting the Company's operations will continue substantially in the ordinary course, including without limitation with respect to industry conditions, general levels of economic activity, laws, regulations, taxes, foreign exchange rates, minimum wage rates and interest rates, weather, that there will be no outbreaks of disease or public safety issues, and that there will be no unplanned material changes in its facilities, equipment, supplies, with respect to relations with customers, suppliers, landlords and employees, or with respect to credit availability, among other things. These assumptions, although considered reasonable by management at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect. Accordingly, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The Company includes in publicly available documents filed from time to time with securities commissions and the Toronto Stock Exchange, a thorough discussion of the risk factors that can cause anticipated outcomes to differ from actual outcomes. Forward-looking information is provided as of the date of this news release only, it should not be relied upon as of any other date, and the Company assumes no obligation to update or revise this information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as expressly required by law.

    (1) EBITDA, which is defined as earnings (loss) before interest, taxes,
        dividends, depreciation and amortization, is not a financial measure
        recognized by Canadian generally accepted accounting principles
        ("GAAP") and does not have a standardized meaning prescribed by GAAP.
        The Company believes that this Non-GAAP financial measure provides
        meaningful information on the Company's performance and operating
        results. Readers are cautioned that EBITDA has no standardized
        meaning as prescribed by GAAP and may not be comparable to similar
        measures presented by other companies. Further, readers are cautioned
        that EBITDA should not replace net income or loss or cash flows from
        operating, investing and financing activities (as determined in
        accordance with GAAP), as an indicator of the Company's performance.

Financial Information

For convenience, this press release includes the Company's Fiscal 2011 First Quarter Unaudited Consolidated Balance Sheets, Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Loss and Statements of Cash Flows.

    WEST 49 INC.
    AS AT

    (Unaudited, in thousands of dollars)                   May 1, January 30,
                                                            2010        2010
                                                      ----------- -----------

        Cash and cash equivalents                      $       -   $   7,797
        Accounts receivable                                1,554         891
        Income taxes receivable                              247         247
        Inventories                                       36,605      35,497
        Future income taxes                                2,882       1,720
        Prepaid expenses                                   3,985         937
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                          45,273      47,089

    Capital assets                                        26,558      26,560
    Deferred costs                                           674         475
    Due from related parties                                 182         112
    Future income taxes                                    1,064       1,064
    Goodwill                                              12,580      12,580
    Intangible assets                                     13,829      13,829
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                       $ 100,160   $ 101,709
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                      ----------- -----------

        Bank indebtedness                              $   9,039   $       -
        Accounts payable and accrued charges              33,200      36,009
        Term debt                                              -       5,522
        Current portion of deferred lease obligations      1,006         934
        Current preferred shares                               -          18
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                          43,245      42,483

    Deferred lease obligations                             8,486       8,159
    Preferred shares                                       5,190       5,190
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                          56,921      55,832
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                      ----------- -----------

    Shareholders' Equity
        Share capital                                     63,371      63,371
        Contributed surplus                                2,082       2,077
        Deficit                                          (22,214)    (19,571)
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                          43,239      45,877
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                       $ 100,160   $ 101,709
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                      ----------- -----------

    WEST 49 INC.
    (Unaudited, in thousands of dollars except per share amounts)

                                                           May 1,      May 2,
                                                            2010        2009

                                                      ----------- -----------

    Net sales                                          $  40,873   $  40,828

    Cost of sales                                         33,531      33,412
                                                      ----------- -----------

    Gross margin                                           7,342       7,416

    Selling, general and administrative expenses           9,396       9,624
                                                      ----------- -----------

    Loss before other expenses                            (2,054)     (2,208)
                                                      ----------- -----------

    Other expenses:
      Dividends on preferred shares                           55          60
      Interest and other financing costs                     105         147
      Amortization of capital assets                       1,591       1,388
      Restructuring costs (Note 6)                             -           -
      Goodwill and intangible assets impairment
       (Notes 9 & 10)                                          -           -
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                           1,751       1,595
                                                      ----------- -----------

    Loss before income taxes                              (3,805)     (3,803)

    Income tax recovery                                   (1,162)     (1,186)
                                                      ----------- -----------

    loss                                                $ (2,643)   $ (2,617)
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                      ----------- -----------

    Basic and diluted loss per share                    $  (0.04)   $  (0.04)
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                      ----------- -----------

    WEST 49 INC.
    (Unaudited, in thousands of dollars)

                                                           May 1,      May 2,
                                                            2010        2009
                                                      ----------- -----------
    Operating Activities

    Net loss                                           $  (2,643)  $  (2,617)
      Non-cash items included above:
      Amortization of capital assets                       1,591       1,388
      Amortization of deferred costs                         133          54
      Amortization of deferred lease inducements            (245)       (244)
      Future income taxes                                 (1,162)     (1,168)
      Impairment or disposition of store assets                -         175
      Straight-line rent expense                             (12)         60
      Stock based compensation                                 5           6
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                          (2,333)     (2,346)
    Changes in non-cash working capital from
     operations                                           (7,621)     (5,630)
                                                      ----------- -----------

    Net cash flows used by operating activities           (9,954)     (7,976)
                                                      ----------- -----------
    Financing Activities
      Due from related parties                               (70)        (32)
      Increase in deferred costs                            (332)          -
      Redemption of preferred shares                         (18)        (15)
      Repayment of term debt                              (5,522)       (264)
                                                      ----------- -----------

    Net cash flows from financing activities              (5,942)       (311)
                                                      ----------- -----------
    Investing Activities
      Additions to capital assets                         (1,503)       (751)
      Deferred lease inducements                             563          66
                                                      ----------- -----------
    Net cash flows from investing activities                (940)       (685)
                                                      ----------- -----------
    Net change in cash and cash equivalents              (16,836)     (8,972)
    Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period         7,797       6,788
                                                      ----------- -----------

    Cash and cash equivalents, end of period            $ (9,039)   $ (2,184)
                                                      ----------- -----------
                                                      ----------- -----------

    Supplemental Disclosure

      Interest paid                                     $     73    $    190
      Eligible dividends paid on preferred shares             55          69
      Income taxes paid                                        -           -


For further information: For further information: Rhonda Biddix, Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary, West 49 Inc., (905) 336-5454 ext. 224, E-mail: ir@west49.com; Trevor Heisler, Investor Relations, The Equicom Group Inc., (416) 815-0700 ext. 270, E-mail: theisler@equicomgroup.com

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