DALLAS -- Blockbuster this month reported a narrower loss for its fiscal fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 1999, and did even better if the costs involved in the relaunch of the Blockbuster.com e-commerce Internet site were excluded, said John Antioco, chairman and chief executive officer. The company here reported a loss of $6.8 million, or 4 cents a share, vs. a loss of $12.9 million, or 9 cents a share, for the same quarter the year before.
excluding Blockbuster.com, the company reported that cash earnings (net income before goodwill amortization, net of tax) for the fourth quarter increased 34% to $37.6 million, or 22 cents per share, compared with the prior-year-period cash earnings of $28.1 million. Consolidated cash earnings for the quarter increased 22% to $34.3 million, or 20 cents per share.
"For Blockbuster, 1999 was a milestone year that included a record number of new store openings, year-over-year domestic market-share gains of five share points and the launch of several significant long-term technology agreements that put us in the forefront of digital delivery of home entertainment across multiple distribution channels," said Antioco. "We outperformed the industry not only operationally, but financially as well. Blockbuster's 34% increase in cash earnings, excluding Blockbuster.com, is particularly gratifying because we were tracking against a worldwide same-store revenue increase of 14.5% for the same quarter of 1998 and we had an incremental interest expense of $22 million over the prior year."