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Submitted by on 1, April 29, 2009 – 5:50 amNo Comment

prnphotos073949Sounds like Island-based Peet’s Coffee & Tea is bucking the trend toward bad economic news, posting positive financial results for the first quarter of 2009.

The company showed first quarter diluted earnings per share of 23 cents, an increase of 53 percent from the previous year, on a net income of $3.1 million for the quarter. This time last year, it earned $2.1 million, or 15 cents a share.

Peet’s posted net revenue increases of 7 percent, from $67.1 million in the same period last year to $72.1 million for the current quarter, which ended on March 29.

Company executives said their earnings are strong because they decided to maintain their position as a premium roaster, eschewing a move toward cheaper coffee and discounting activity occurring at grocery stores. The company has also slowed its retail expansion, with just two new stores open this quarter, compared to nine in the same quarter last year.

They also attributed the gains to operating efficiencies and strong sales of premium beans, including the company’s Anniversary Blend and Sumatra Blue Batak.

The company has said it is hoping to build 10 new retail outlets this year and to distribute its wares into 1,000 new stores. So far, it has moved its products into 200 new stores.

A recent price increase did little to impact the company’s sales, company executives told reporters in a conference call.

“The stability and performance of our retail stores over the last several quarters … reflects the strength of the brand and the loyalty of the customer base,” Peet’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Cawley said. “That’s what we’re focused on, is continuing to satisfy our core of dedicated, loyal customers.”

Company officials expect net revenue to increase by 10 to 13 percent this year.

The Associated Press reported that shares closed earlier up $1.38, or 6 percent, at $24.52.

The company opened a roasting plant here on the Island in 2007.

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