Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Shows Modest Revenue Improvement in Third Quarter

Martha Stewart - 2010
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UPDATED: Shares falter as the company posts a per-share loss that is wider than analysts anticipated.

NEW YORK – Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia said Tuesday that third-quarter revenue rose slightly to $52 million compared with $50 million in the same quarter a year ago as higher merchandising revenue was offset by declines in publishing because print advertising faltered.

The company posted a loss of $9.7 million, wider than the $8.6 million it lost in the year-ago quarter, partially due to a $3.8 million restructuring charge this time around.

While the company hit expectations on the top line, its bottom line was no where near what analysts were looking for and shares of MSLO were off 9 percent Tuesday to $3.54. On a per-share basis, analysts epected a loss of 11 cents, though the company posted a loss of 18 cents.

Broadcasting revenue was $6.6 million, up 14 percent year-over-year due to delivery of new programming in Hallmark Channel, including Emeril’s Table, which is part of a new daytime block on Hallmark.

Operating losses in broadcasting were $1.3 million compared to $4.1 million in the third quarter last year.

Ken West, the former Marvel executive who joined MSLO as CFO in September, said during a conference call with analysts on Tuesday that he expects new studio locations for several shows to significantly reduce costs when current leases begin to expire in in the middle of next year.

Lisa Gersh, president and COO, noted that the company has “a lot of work to do" to reach internal performance goals.

The third quarter results, she added, “highlight the hard work we need to do to get the company’s standards up to the level we expect.”

She lauded several new executives, including West, and noted Stewart’s re-election to the board was an important step to “drive sustainable growth.”

“Overall, our focus is on restoring profitable, long-term growth by leveraging the power of the Martha and Emeril brands and emphasizing a disciplined and focused approach to our operations,” she said.