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Burlington Coat Factory Q4 dampened by Sandy

Burlington, N.J. - Damage from Hurricane Sandy, the Category 2 storm that barged through New York and New Jersey on Oct. 29, was largely blamed for hampering Burlington Coat Factory Corp.'s fourth quarter results.

As ceo Tom Kingsbury explained during the 470-plus unit off-price chain's earnings call this morning: "Clearly, our sales were negatively impacted by Hurricane Sandy and unseasonably warm weather in December. At the height of the storm, over 130 of our stores were impacted, with two closed through November and one permanently closed."

Even so, net sales for the 14-week period, ended February 2, were up 6.8% to $1.317 billion compared with $1.233 billion in the 13-week period a year ago. The company noted
The extra week in this year's fourth quarter accounted for about $54 million of net sales.

On a comparable 13-week basis, comparative store sales decreased 0.3% for the quarter.

For the full fiscal year, which spanned 53 weeks, net sales rose 7.2% to $4.131 billion versus $3.854 billion in the prior year's 52 weeks.

On a comparable 52-week basis, comparative store sales increased 1.2%.

Kingsbury added the company continues to be "pleased with our inventory management," which resulted in a 12.5% reduction in comparative store inventories and a 15% faster inventory turnover for the quarter.

Burlington Coat Factory saw its luck change in the New Year, as its January sales performance proved encouraging.

"We look forward to continuing to build on our comparative store sales and total sales growth in Fiscal 2013," he summed.

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