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Good News/Bad News

Believe it or not, West Marine’s unaudited results for the first quarter of 2009 say that first quarter pre-tax results are the best since 2005. Pre-tax loss for the thirteen weeks ended April 4, 2009 was $14.4 million, an $11.0 million improvement compared to a pre-tax loss of $25.4 million last year. CEO Geoff Eisenberg commented, “We are pleased to report these considerably improved operating results, despite a sales decline which reflects market and industry conditions. While we’ve always experienced a loss in the first quarter due to seasonality in our business, this quarter’s operating results reflect changes we have made to strengthen the company in the face of current economic conditions. We also continue to improve our balance sheet by increasing cash flow, reducing debt and maintaining unused credit facility availability of over $86 million.”  Good management, or a glimmer of hope for the economy? Read the rest.

Brunswick Corporation has reported its results for the first quarter of 2009, with a net loss of $184.2 million. Total sales of $734.7 million were down 45 percent versus 2008, primarily the result of marine sales that dropped by 52 percent from year ago levels."Our businesses continued to be under pressure from a variety of harsh economic factors that affected both domestic and international demand for our products, especially in our recreational marine markets." said Brunswick’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dustan E. McCoy. "The year began as expected with the continuation of unprecedented low levels of demand experienced in the second half of 2008, especially during the fourth quarter. Retail demand for marine products was impacted in the first quarter of 2009 by declining consumer confidence and the tightening of consumer credit terms by national lenders. As our dealers work through this difficult economic climate, we continue to reduce our wholesale shipments to reduce the number of boats and engines on their showroom floors. Full story.