Fitness financials: Nautilus delays release of Q4, FY '08 results, shares drop, plus Johnson Health/Matrix, Puma, Hanesbrands, Wal-Mart, Hibbett, Nike

Nautilus delayed the release of Q4 and FY '08 results, Johnson Health Tech's Matrix brand reported a jump in '08 sales, Puma's Q4 sales plunged, Hanesbrands predicted lower Q1 sales, Wal-Mart's Q4 profit was down 7.4 percent, Hibbett named a new president, and Nike declared a quarterly dividend.

Nautilus delays release of Q4, FY '08 results, shares drop

Nautilus (NYSE: NLS) has rescheduled its previously announced fourth-quarter and FY '08 conference call as a result of delays stemming from its 2008 audit. Its shares dropped more than 26 percent on the news.

The company said in a statement, "The rescheduled conference call date is necessary to allow additional time to complete the few remaining items in connection with the 2008 audit, the most significant of which is a review of the carrying value of the company's goodwill and other intangible assets."

During the call, now scheduled for March 10, the company said it will also discuss the strategy for its direct to consumer business.

Shares of Nautilus shed $0.24 to close at $0.67 on Feb. 17, dropping another nearly 15 percent to close Feb. 18 at 57 cents.

Johnson Health Tech's Matrix brand reports jump in '08 sales

Johnson Health Tech North America Corp. reported a 25.7 percent increase in 2008 U.S. sales for Matrix Fitness Systems brand over the corresponding 2007 period, crediting increased market penetration for the jump. International sales grew 25.1 percent over prior year.

"In 2008, we aggressively invested in our marketing efforts and in new product development," said Chris Clawson, Johnson Health Tech's president and CEO, in a statement. "The increased marketing and launch of new products has enabled our sales team and distribution partners to further develop our commercial base of clients over the last 12 months."

Clawson added that Matrix's commercial sales and operations teams throughout Asia, Europe, North America and South America continue to successfully gain market share, and he expects the company's sales to continue growing.

Matrix Fitness Systems is the commercial brand of Johnson Health Tech North America Corp.

Puma Q4 sales plunge, foregoes '09 forecast

Puma (PUMG.DE), owned by French retailer and Gucci owner PPR (PTRP.PA), reported a 76.7 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings. The company said it will not provide guidance for 2009 because of the fluctuating market environment.

Fourth-quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) fell to EUR 12.2 million (USD $15.4 million) from EUR 52.4 million (USD $66.3 million) in the same period a year ago.

Fourth-quarter EBIT took a EUR 25 million (USD $31.6 million) hit as the company wrote down the value of inventory and closed unprofitable stores.

Consolidated sales rose 11.3 percent in euro terms to EUR 561.3 million (USD $710.2 million).

Puma said order intake was down 5.4 percent as of the end of 2008 at EUR 1.15 billion (USD $1.45 million). The company had forecast mid- to high-single-digit sales growth.

(Conversion of Euros into U.S. dollars is for information only, is not necessarily relative to earnings, and is based on the currency rate as of Feb. 18.)

Hanesbrands predicts lower Q1 sales

Hanesbrands (NYSE: HBI), parent of Champion, said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it expects lower sales in the first quarter amid a difficult environment.

The company said it expects a first-quarter sales decline similar to the one in the fourth quarter due to expected lower casualwear sales. It will also face a weak economic climate, high commodity costs, higher pension costs and costs related to a price increase, all of which will weigh down first-quarter results, it added.

Hanesbrands said in its fourth-quarter report that profit fell 64 percent, due to weak sales and a hefty restructuring charge, while sales fell 11 percent to $1.04 billion. It did not give specific guidance for the first quarter at the time.

Wal-Mart's Q4 profit down 7.4 percent

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT) said its fourth-quarter profit fell 7.4 percent as it was hurt by the strong dollar and charges from various lawsuits.

For the quarter ended Jan. 31, it earned $3.79 billion, or $0.96 per share, compared to $4.096 billion, or $1.02 per share, a year earlier. The drop was attributed to the settlement of 63 class-action wage and hour lawsuits. Excluding the impact of that, Wal-Mart earned $1.03 per share.

Total sales for the quarter rose to $109.12 billion from $107.34 billion a year earlier. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 2.8 percent in the quarter.

Net sales for the fiscal year were $401.244 billion, an increase of 7.2 percent over fiscal year 2008. Income from continuing operations increased 3.0 percent to $13.254 billion, up from $12.863 billion in the prior year. Reported EPS for fiscal year 2009 was $3.35, up 6.0 percent from $3.16 in the prior year. Underlying EPS was $3.42, excluding the litigation charge.

Wal-Mart now expects earnings for the fiscal first quarter of $0.72 to $0.77 per share. For the full fiscal year, Wal-Mart expects a profit of $3.45 per share to $3.60 per share.

Hibbett names new president

Hibbett Sports (Nasdaq: HIBB) has promoted Jeffry O. Rosenthal, the company’s vice president of merchandising, to president and chief operating officer, effective immediately.

He currently serves as vice chairman/treasurer of the National Sporting Goods Association and has served as Hibbett's vice president of merchandising since 1998. Prior to that time, he was vice president and divisional merchandise manager for apparel with Champs Sports.

Nike declares quarterly dividend

The board of directors for Nike (NYSE: NKE) declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.25 per share on the company's outstanding Class A and Class B Common Stock payable on April 1 to shareholders of record on March 9.

--Compiled by Wendy Geister

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