|Ralph D. McRae,
Chairman and CEO
Leading Brands, Inc.
(604) 214-9722 ext. 238
Chief Financial Officer
Leading Brands, Inc.
(604) 214-9722 Ext.313
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Leading Brands, Inc. Announces Suspension of Home
Delivery Service to add Approximately $0.06 US to Fiscal 2003-04 Earnings. Company
will Take Non-Cash Charge of Approx. $6,500,000 US in Q4 2002 - 03
VANCOUVER, British Columbia--Feb 10, 2003-- LEADING BRANDS, INC. LBIX (TSX:LBI), Canada's largest independent, fully integrated premium beverage company, , announces that its Quick Home Delivery subsidiary has determined to suspend home delivery service in the Greater Vancouver area after February 28, 2003. The date coincides with the end of the initial term of the company’s agreement to manage the service.
This move will add approximately $0.06 US per share to Leading Brands’ earnings next year. The Company will recognize a non-cash charge of approximately $6,500,000 against its long term investment in the fourth quarter of its 2002 fiscal year ended February 28, 2003 to reflect the event.
Leading Brands Chairman & CEO Ralph McRae said: “This was a difficult decision. Quick was able to meet or exceed every significant operational milestone. However, the business has reached a level where, in order to continue its growth, we needed to start expending material sums on marketing. That would have cut into Leading Brands’ consolidated earnings in fiscal 2003. With financial markets focused on profit growth, we made the tough decision between investing to grow Quick for the future and enhancing Leading Brands’ profitability now. Operationally, this step will further allow us to concentrate on building our beverage brands, both here and abroad.”
Mr. McRae continued: “Although we believe it prudent to take a charge on our investment in Quick in Q4 of our present fiscal year, we have managed to build some very efficient and effective technology that we will apply to further enhance efficiencies in our wholesale operations.”
Gerry Kenyon, President of Quick Home Delivery added: “Although
we are disappointed with this decision, we are proud of what we have been able
to accomplish at Quick. We at the same time want to apologize to our many home
delivery customers who have come to rely on the service and thank them for their
support. We will strive to provide the same high level of service through to
our last day of deliveries on Friday, February 28.”
We Build Brands(TM)
About Leading Brands, Inc.
Leading Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:LBIX, TSX:LBI) is the largest independent, fully integrated premium beverage company in Canada. The Company’s unique Integrated Distribution System (IDS) ™ offers turnkey, one-stop shopping to food and beverage brand owners, including manufacturing, distribution, sales/marketing and licensing. In addition, Leading Brands produces their own line of beverages such as TREK, Pez® 100% Juices, Johnny’s Roadside® Iced Tea and Lemonade, Country Harvest® Juices, Caesar’s® Bloody Caesar Cocktail, and Cool Canadian® Water. Leading Brands recently undertook a major expansion into the United States, with its US headquarters located in Stamford, CT.
Statements in this news release that are not historical are to be regarded as forward-looking statements which are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Such risks and uncertainties with respect to the Company's business include general economic conditions, weather conditions, changing beverage consumption trends, pricing, and the availability of raw materials and economic uncertainties, including currency.