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Gottschalks sees response to marketing

Fresno, Calif. – At the onset of its board of directors’ evaluation, which includes exploring the possibility of selling the company, Gottschalks Inc. recently embarked on a new marketing campaign intended to help improve, among other things, its lagging home area.

The home product categories that have had the most success so far have been gifts, housewares and some electronics, said president and ceo Jim Famalette, ceo on the company’s third-quarter call to analysts.

“The changes in the home won’t be as fast as in apparel, because you have to buy the product further out, but we’re starting to see the success of [the marketing] and we’re anxious to see how it goes in the next 30 days,” he continued. During the third quarter, sales of home furnishings remained “challenging and unfortunately overshadowed the sales gains we generated in our soft lines categories,” Famalette said.

The 61-unit regional department store operator reported a third-quarter loss of $2.7 million, worse than the net loss of $1.6 million for the same period one year ago. Sales for the quarter were $148.8 million, down 1.6% from $151.3 million last year, while comp-store sales rose 0.5% for the quarter.

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