Harry & David posted an $11.9 million loss in the quarter ended Sept. 28, slightly more than the $11.5 million setback a year earlier.
The Medford gourmet food and gift company's fiscal first-quarter revenue declined 4.6 percent, with sales of $31.7 million, compared with $33.2 million a year ago.
Harry & David considers the three months during harvest as the ramp-up period for its critical holiday sales run when the majority of its revenue — and earnings — are accumulated. When all was said and done last year, the company's net earnings were just under $13 million.
"Our first quarter results came in as we expected," said Craig Johnson, Harry & David's chief executive officer, in a statement. "We adjusted our marketing cadence this year in response to this year's holiday calendar and a shift in our customer contact strategies.
Johnson said Harry & David reduced its catalog circulation by 16 percent compared with the late summer 2012.
"The decreased catalog circulation had a negative impact on sales during the first quarter, which we anticipated, but we expect to see customer growth during the second quarter," his statement said. "With a 10 percent customer file growth from last year, we anticipate to see the fruits of our labor in the coming months. Our focus on customer experience continues to drive changes in our assortment, our on-line and off-line presentation, and our selling processes."
— Greg Stiles