Kirkland-based Celebrate Express yesterday reported a wider second-quarter profit as time-starved parents ordered more costumes and party products through its online stores and...

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Kirkland-based Celebrate Express yesterday reported a wider second-quarter profit as time-starved parents ordered more costumes and party products through its online stores and catalogs.

In its first report as a public company, it reported net sales of $18.8 million, a 42.7 percent jump compared with the year before.

Its profit was $685,000, or 11 cents a share.

Celebrate Express — begun by husband and wife Mike and Jan Jewell — operates three brands: Birthday Express, which sells children’s birthday party supplies; Storybook Heirlooms, a girl’s specialty apparel store; and Costume Express, which sells costumes for children and families.

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Darin White, vice president of finance, said quarterly sales were fueled by Costume Express, which expanded its marketing efforts for Halloween.

While the company doesn’t break out revenue figures for each brand, it said Birthday Express and Storybook grew just north of 30 percent. Costume Express sales “helped the overall growth rate,” White said.

The company said it lured 35 percent more new customers than it did in the same quarter a year ago, while half of its revenue came from repeat customers. Meantime, sales growth outpaced expenses, meaning more money trickled to the bottom line.

The company debuted on the stock market in October, raising $34 million after deducting the stock sold by shareholders and fees associated with taking the company public.

Celebrate Express shares closed yesterday at $19.46, down 4 cents. The company’s shares have risen 19.8 percent since its IPO.

Monica Soto Ouchi: 206-515-5632 or msoto@seattletimes.com

Celebrate Express
Figures in parentheses are losses.
Nov. 30 %
2nd QTR 2004 2003 CHG
Profit $685,000 $72,000 851.4
Per share 0.11 0.01 1000.0
Sales 18,770,000 13,158,000 42.7
1st Half 2004 2003 CHG
Profit $926,000 ($549,000) n/a
Per share 0.17 (0.48) n/a
Sales 33,293,000 23,686,000 40.6