Net sales ignite
The Honolulu-based company'sBy Russ Lynch
earnings soar 3,631 percent
As its Internet sales soared, Cheap Tickets Inc. recorded first-quarter earnings about 37 times greater than a year ago.
The Honolulu-based company, which went public in March, today reported a first-quarter profit of $970,000, compared with a net of $26,000 a year ago. The company, which sells discount air travel tickets in Hawaii and on the mainland through ticket offices, telephone centers and the Internet, had revenues of $60.5 million in the quarter, up 87 percent from $32.4 million in the 1998 quarter.
Internet sales brought a big boost in business, according to Michael J. Hartley, chairman and chief executive. Cheap Tickets sold $20.3 million worth of travel to Internet customers in the 1999 quarter, up more than 800 percent from $2.2 million in Internet sales in the year-earlier period.
Cheap Tickets said it registered 332,000 new customers at its Web site (http://www.cheaptickets.com) in the latest quarter, compared with 400,000 in all on 1998, and now has 750,000 registered. The company does not allow anyone to browse its site for cheap fares without first registering and providing a credit card number.
The earnings result for the latest quarter was equal to a profit of 1 cent a share, after a 4 cents noncash charge for early retirement of preferred stock in late March. The company had a loss of 1 cent a share in the year-earlier quarter.
The company's Nasdaq-traded shares rose $5.19 today to close at $41.75 before the earnings report was released.