Vans, Inc (Nasdaq: VANS) has announced record financial results for the first fiscal quarter ended August 26, 2000.

Net sales for the quarter increased 21.4 per cent to $100.6m, compared to $82.9m for the first quarter of fiscal 2000. Net income rose 28 per cent to $7.6m, versus net income of $5.9m in the same period last year, and diluted earnings per share increased 23.8 per cent to $0.52, versus diluted earnings per share of $0.42 in the first quarter of fiscal 2000.

"Vans' first $100m quarter is a great testament to the sports and lifestyle positioning of our brand and an exciting accomplishment for our team," said Gary H. Schoenfeld, president and CEO of Vans. "More importantly, we continue to translate these sales gains into strong earnings growth. Comp store sales increased to 15.3 per cent during the key six week back-to-school period through mid-September and holiday and early Spring bookings are up more than 20 per cent."

For the first quarter, total US sales, including sales through Vans' US retail stores, increased 32.9 per cent to $72.9m, versus $54.8m for the same period a year ago. US wholesale sales in the first quarter increased 33.5 per cent to $46.9m, versus $35.1m a year ago.

Sales through the company's US retail stores increased 31.8 per cent to $26.0m in the first quarter of fiscal 2001, from $19.7m for the same period a year ago. Comparable store sales for the first quarter were up 8.6 per cent versus the same period last year, the twenty-third consecutive quarter of such increase. Total international sales, after giving affect to a 14 per cent decline in the Euro, were essentially flat at $27.7m versus $28.1m a year ago. On a constant dollar basis, international sales would have been up 8 per cent.

Commenting on the company's sales for the quarter, Mr. Schoenfeld said: "Our wholesale business continues to perform well both in the US and overseas, and our retail stores had another strong quarter with a great back-to-school. Of particular note beyond our base men's business, the Upland shoe has performed extremely well in women's, and our Geoff Rowley shoe has been our strongest launch in independent board shops in quite a few years."

Gross margins for the quarter increased 140 basis points to 44.0 per cent versus 42.6 per cent last year, primarily due to improved margins at retail and changes in channel mix. Inventory increased to $59.9m from $46.1m year-over-year primarily due to continued growth of the wholesale business in the US, the addition of 16 retail stores and four skateparks, and a $2m increase in inventory to support sales through the company's joint venture in Latin America.

Mr Schoenfeld concluded: "The company's financial results over the past several quarters continue to demonstrate the increasing breadth of our business and the potential to leverage the leadership position of the VANS brand across a broader base of products and categories. In addition to furthering the growth of our men's business, we see exciting opportunities in our women's Skate and Cali categories as well as with the launch of our outdoor footwear, and the growth of apparel and accessories. Worldwide bookings are up for holiday and Spring, and we believe that we are in a very good position to continue to capture market share and add to our growth in sales, earnings and shareholder value."

About Vans
Vans, Inc is a branded sports and lifestyle company for the youth market. The company operates 137 retail stores in the US and Europe, and designs, markets and distributes active-casual footwear, clothing and accessories, performance footwear for Core Sports, snowboard boots, step-in snowboard boot bindings, and outerwear worldwide. Vans' Internet address is www.vans.com.