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Duluth Trading posts big gains in sales, profit

The corporate parent of Duluth Trading, the Wisconsin-based retailer known for rugged clothing and cheeky commercials, posted a strong first quarter, with both sales and profits up more than 20 percent.Duluth Holdings Inc., which is based in Bell...

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The corporate parent of Duluth Trading, the Wisconsin-based retailer known for rugged clothing and cheeky commercials, posted a strong first quarter, with both sales and profits up more than 20 percent.
Duluth Holdings Inc., which is based in Belleville, south of Madison, took in revenue of $68.6 million in the three months ended May 1, up from $56.8 million in the first quarter of 2015. It was the company’s 25th consecutive quarter with increased year-over-year sales, CEO Stephanie Pugliese said in a statement last week.
The firm netted $3.2 million, or 10 cents a share, compared with $2.7 million, or 11 cents a share, a year ago.
The 2015 figures, however, do not include provisions for income taxes. At the time, Duluth was an “S” corporation, with income taxes paid by the owners, not the company. Had the corporation been subject to income taxes a year ago, it would have netted $1.6 million, or 7 cents a share.
Since last year, the company also has increased the number of shares outstanding by 8 million.
Duluth sells casual clothing and work wear, mainly via catalog and its website, but also in a small but growing set of brick-and-mortar stores - including one in downtown Duluth. The firm has embraced mischievous marketing of products like “Buck Naked Underwear” and “Ballroom Jeans,” (which promise “room to crouch without singing soprano”).
Eighty-eight percent of Duluth’s sales in the most recent quarter came from its catalog and online channels. But the company’s brick-and-mortar business increased its revenue by more than half, as two new stores opened and existing outlets saw organic growth.
Duluth operates nine stores and plans to open five more stores in its current fiscal year. A La Crosse, Wis., location is to open this month, followed by one in Omaha, Neb., in early July, and two in the Chicago area this fall. Duluth also signed a lease for a future shop in King of Prussia, Pa., near Philadelphia.
The company envisions as many as 100 stores across the country. It was founded in Duluth in 1989, selling canvas tool organizers for construction workers. It went public last November.
The stock has more than doubled its initial public offering price of $12 a share.

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