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Cost Plus sees strong uptick during holiday

Oakland, Calif. - Cost Plus Inc.'s sales increased 6.4% to $277.5 million in the nine-week holiday selling period, ended January 1.

Same-store sales rose 7.0% compared to a 0.3% increase for the nine-week period last year. This increase was attributable to a 5.6% increase in customer count and a 1.3% increase in the average ticket per customer.

"We are extremely pleased with our holiday sales results which were consistent across the eastern and western regions," said Barry Feld, president and ceo.

He credited the 30-state 263-unit's strategic use of layered media, combined with its "core competency in seasonal gift giving and entertaining merchandise" with helping drive gains in traffic and ticket.

"I am confident that we will achieve the high end of our previously announced full year fiscal 2010 guidance, and now have the potential to achieve net income in fiscal 2010, one year ahead of expectations," Feld continued.

As of Jan. 5, the home furnishings specialty chain had $17.0 million in borrowings and $10.3 million in letters of credit outstanding under its asset-based credit facility, compared to $40.5 million in borrowings and $11.8 million in letters of credit at the same time last year.

Cost Plus' new $200.0 million five-year credit agreement was executed and became effective on January 3, 2011. The bank consortium led by Bank of America also includes Wells Fargo and SunTrust. The structure of the new facility allows for increased borrowing capacity with similar financial covenants and includes a $50.0 million accordion feature.


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