• Q4 net loss narrowed to $2.0m from $3.2m
  • Net sales soared 62.7% to $10.9m from $6.7m
  • Domestic sales up 62.5% to $5.2m; international up 62.9% to $5.7m 

Wheeled shoe maker Heelys Inc has narrowed its fourth quarter loss thanks to a surge in sales as it focuses on developing new products and brands.

The company also said it is taking steps to close its office in Brussels, Belgium in a bid to reduce overheads. The cost of the move, which is due to be completed by the end of June, will be up to $1.3m - but should lead to annual savings of $1.5m.
 
"We continue to have one significant hurdle in our turnaround plan and that is rebuilding retail distribution in a tough economy with retailers who are still reluctant to take inventory," explains CEO Tom Hansen.

"We're tackling this head-on by doing tests at retail, developing new products and brands internally, adding brands to our distribution portfolio as well as creating and funding new point of sale materials to make our "on trend" new designs stand out in stores.

"These initiatives have resulted in a 38% increase in US sales in 2011. Specifically, our HX2  has answered a significant challenge by providing a simple, easy to use, introductory product to take on the challenges some younger kids face with traditional Heelys wheeled-footwear."

Sidewalk Sports wheeled footwear, a new brand sold exclusively at Kmart stores, has also "answered the challenge it was designed to address. Our first run during holiday was outstanding and we are introducing the product to retailers in appropriate markets across the world.

"While most of Europe remains sluggish, we're seeing the first signs of a renewal in Japan and a resurgence in the UK."

For the year to 31 December, net loss widened to $5.6m or $0.20 per share, from a loss of $4.0m or $0.14 per share. Sales edged up 5.3% to $32.0m.