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Duckwall Losses Widen

Rural general merchandiser Duckwall-ALCO Stores reported a more-than-doubled quarterly loss of $5.9 million, or $1.53 per basic share, compared with a net loss of $2.2 million, or $0.59 per basic share, for the year-ago period.

First-quarter net sales from continuing operations at the 256-store chain were off 0.3% to $106.0 million; comps fell 8.4%.

Interim cfo Jon Ramsey told analysts that the company finished the quarter with a substantially lower merchandise inventory and less borrowed on its revolving credit facility than was the case a year ago.

"The first quarter of fiscal 2009 was a time for very significant changes for the company," noted Donny Johnson, interim president and ceo: "New members and direction on our board of directors, the resignation of our previous president and ceo, reductions in corporate staff, and actions by the company to exit 14 markets."

Profitability was affected by severance charges of $1.8 million, which in turn were offset by reduced share-based compensation expense of $610,000.

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