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MailTribune.com
  • Harry & David has a successful year

    The company's fiscal-year performance is best in the past five, with a profit of almost $13 million
  • Harry & David Holdings turned in its best annual performance in five years, netting a profit of nearly $13 million during fiscal 2013.
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  • Harry & David Holdings turned in its best annual performance in five years, netting a profit of nearly $13 million during fiscal 2013.
    The Medford-based gift and gourmet food company also saw its revenue climb to $380.3 million from $342.6 million in fiscal 2012.
    "Our fiscal year 2013 results reflect significant accomplishments and improvements to our core business over the past year," said Chief Executive Officer Craig Johnson.
    From the time Harry & David emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2011 until June 30, 2012, the company reported a profit of $7.4 million.
    It was the best year for the company since it reported earnings of $30.7 million in fiscal 2007.
    Johnson indicated large pear and peach harvests are positioning the company for an even better fiscal 2014.
    "At the onset of the year, our goal was to reverse many years of customer-file decline and to return the business to profitable growth," Johnson said. "I am thrilled to declare we have definitively achieved this goal."
    During the past year, Harry & David has invested in a new phone switch to support its call centers in Medford, Eugene and Hebron, Ohio, and updated software and technology capabilities, such as wireless components in its fulfillment centers, Johnson said.
    The company also has updated its computer, mobile phone and tablet equipment, as well.
    He said the company added 60 full-time positions since May, as it rebuilds the internal creative department that was outsourced a few years ago. Harry & David also has bolstered its corporate sales department and store management support for its seasonal stores
    "All of these investments will result in either a better customer experience with each of our brands, which aids customer acquisition and retention, or support new growth initiatives, which will eventually add top line growth," Johnson said.
    Plentiful harvests and expanded season stores will enable the company to grow market share in the premium food gifts sector, Johnson said.
    "We have the business back on a growth trajectory, in both sales and profitability, and anticipate further gains in market share this upcoming holiday season," he said.
    The CEO pointed to 10 percent growth in the company's direct marketing customer list, which had declined 7 percent the year before, as a substantial improvement.
    "We have responded to our customers through the addition of many new features to our websites, enhancing their shopping experience," Johnson said.
    "We have responded to customer changes in shopping habits by adding dedicated mobile and tablet sites over the last year. We are also making good progress in re-engineering and improving our supply chain, as well as refining our organizational structure and staffing plan to better align with company goals and future growth strategies."
    The preponderance of the company's sales and profitability come during the second fiscal quarter, which includes the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
    In the final quarter of fiscal 2013, Harry & David reported a $12.9 million loss, down from $13.1 million a year earlier.
    The company said its sales during the final quarter slipped 3.6 percent to $38.6 million, partly because Easter sales fell into the third quarter.
    Its direct marketing and wholesale revenue grew slightly in the quarter, while store sales declined.
    Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness.
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