Heelys Widens Loss

Even in the face of increased net losses for the first quarter, Heelys Inc. reiterated yesterday its intention to remain a standalone company, following a strategic review by its board of directors.

“It’s currently in the best interest of our stockholders to remain independent and focus on building the company,” Heelys interim CEO Michael Hessong said during a conference call after announcing earnings on May 14.

Hessong declined to elaborate on the board’s reasoning behind the decision, despite analyst questions about the company’s market value and potential bidders. “With that process being terminated,” he said, “the focus is on Heelys — the company, the brand and the products we have — and how to take that forward and increase value over where we stand today.”

The Dallas-based company reported a first-quarter net loss of $1.3 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $1 million, or 4 cents, in the year-ago period. Revenue for the quarter fell 30 percent to $13.1 million, from $9.2 million in the first quarter of 2008.

Heelys increased its gross profit for the first quarter to $2.9 million from $2.8 million in the first quarter of last year. “Sales and gross margin came in a little better than we had anticipated, and this is a reflection of the overall improved inventory levels,” said Hessong.

The company also relaunched its Website during the quarter and sold its 1 millionth pair of Heelys shoes. “We are focused on managing the things that are within our control,” said Hessong.

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