Q4 Loss Narrows at Heelys

Wheeled shoemaker Heelys Inc. said Wednesday after the close of the markets that it narrowed its fourth quarter loss, though sales in the period declined.

The firm’s net loss totaled $1.1 million, or 4 cents a share, from a prior loss of $5.2 million, or 19 cents, a year ago.

Net sales dropped to $11.4 million from $15.6 million last year.

“Although fourth-quarter sales were disappointing, we managed to reduce our inventory levels and our operating expenses,” said Lisa Peterson, CFO, in a written statement. “Gross margins improved in the quarter as we were able to move newer product into the pipeline at a higher average sales price. Going forward, we are significantly reducing the number of shop keeping units that we carry in our inventory. We are still designing 40 to 50 new styles each season, but after previewing them with our retail partners, we are only bringing the favorites to market.”

Tom Hansen, CEO, commented that Heelys has had a strong international business with improved distribution, but the focus in 2010 will be on the domestic market.

“We plan to deploy new products, new programs and new partnerships designed to revitalize the brand here in the U.S.,” Hansen said in the statement. “We will also continue to look for ways and review opportunities to deploy our cash to grow our business and increase shareholder value.”

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