RENTAL ROUNDUP

West Coast Posts Strong Numberst Entertainment Corp. here reported strong numbers in its fourth quarter ended Jan. 31. Same-store revenues increased 3%, while total revenues rose 19.2% from $31 million for the comparable period a year ago to $36.9 million.West Coast reported the highest margins of any of its publicly traded competitors among video specialty chains, said Kyle Standley, president and

West Coast Posts Strong Numbers

t Entertainment Corp. here reported strong numbers in its fourth quarter ended Jan. 31. Same-store revenues increased 3%, while total revenues rose 19.2% from $31 million for the comparable period a year ago to $36.9 million.

West Coast reported the highest margins of any of its publicly traded competitors among video specialty chains, said Kyle Standley, president and chief executive officer. The margin of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was 37.8% and the net income margin was 4.4%.

"We credit our tremendous fourth-quarter profitability primarily to our cost-cutting measures instituted in August of 1997," said Standley. "Through the end of March, we have seen continued strong performance from our stores. We believe that the title slate through the summer appears generally favorable vs. 1997."

Year-end numbers were also good for West Coast. Revenues were $123.7 million, compared with $73.3 million for the previous year, but same-store sales were up 1%, compared with 5.3% for the year before.

Sight & Sound Has New Rental Plan

ST. LOUIS -- Sight & Sound Distributors here is offering a new program based on the rentability of sell-through-priced event movies. The "Opportunity Knocks" program offers special buy-ins, reduced price promotions and point-of-purchase materials to help retailers take advantage of such titles. The distributor has also developed a 6-foot by 42-foot banner that promotes "Guaranteed Rentals" on the sell-through titles. It's a permanent sign with space for a theatrical-sized poster of the newest event title.

VSDA to Promote Antihunger Drive

ENCINO, Calif. -- The Video Software Dealers Association here will use lollipops to promote its Fast Forward to End Hunger program this year. The association is now enrolling retailers to take part in the program, which will launch July 1.

The VSDA will provide participating retailers with a clear container of lollipops along with a collection canister for donations and other point-of-purchase materials. The lollipops will be offered to consumers for a minimum $1 donation and promoted as "$1 a Pop."

Last year the campaign raised more than $2.2 million through in-store and sponsor contributions. More than 8,700 retail storefronts participated. All contributions from the campaign went to the food banks in the communities where the funds were raised.

Warner Sets New Replacement Policy

BURBANK, Calif. -- Warner Home Video here, in conjunction with MGM Home Entertainment, Santa Monica, Calif., has established a new policy for replacement products in the studios' Profit Plus copy-depth program.

The new policy gives retailers a 30-day, no-fault return period in which to return defective videocassettes. Returns will be processed within 24 hours of receipt and replacements will be sent back at no charge to the retailer via overnight delivery. Retailers are asked to call 1-800-258-3800 to obtain a return authorization.

"We're confident that retailers will find our new program more efficient, convenient and easier than ever before," said Jim Cardwell, executive vice president for North America at Warner Home Video.

Top 10 Supermarket Video Rental Titles

Title (Weeks Out) Studio Retail Last Week

1Air Force One (8) Columbia $ 22.95 1

2I Know What You Did... (2) Columbia 106.97 2

3The Peacemaker (4) Universal 107.37 3

4Mimic (3) Buena Vista 104.16 4

5Bean (1) PolyGram 106.99 New

6Mortal Kombat 2 (1) New Line 105.77 New

7The Full Monty (3) Fox 104.16 5

8The Edge (6) Fox 104.16 7

9Devil's Advocate (7) Warner 107.37 6

10The Little Mermaid (1) Buena Vista 26.99 New

This chart, tailored for the supermarket video market, is based on information taken from more than 1,000 supermarket rental locations serviced by Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn.