CIBC World Starts Coverage on 1-800-FLOWERS

There's still near-term difficulties, but analyst Peter Benedict thinks the florist's performance will bloom over the next two years

CIBC World initiated coverage of 1-800-FLOWERS (FLWS ) with strong buy.

Analyst Peter Benedict says, as a leading multi-channel retailer of both floral and non-floral gifts, he thinks the company is well-positioned to benefit from this category's strong expected online growth over the next few years. He notes online sales of gifts and flowers are expected to grow from $2.2 billion in 2001 to $5.4 billion in 2004. Benedict believes the company will continue to be successful in growing its higher margin non-floral product sales in years ahead, and reach its 50% -- or higher -- target by fiscal 2003 from the current estimate of 38%.

Benedict sees a $0.23 loss per share for fiscal 2001 (June) and sees $0.15 fiscal 2002 EPS and $0.58 fiscal 2003 EPS. He set a $17 target on shares trading at 30 times his fiscal 2003 EPS.

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