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Cost Plus sees sales and comps grow but somewhat widens net loss in 3Q

Cost Plus sees sales and comps grow but somewhat widens net loss in 3Q

Oakland, Calif. - Cost Plus Inc. slightly widened its net loss in its third quarter, but managed fair increases in sales and comp, driven in part by a shift within the home division towards higher-dollar and lower-merchandise margin furniture compared to last year.

In its third quarter, ended Oct. 29, the 258-unit home furnishings chain in 30 states reported a net loss of $8.6 million, or 39 cents per diluted share, versus a net loss of $8.3 million, or 38 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago period.

Net sales for the 13 weeks grew 3.7% to $201.9 million from $194.6 million last year, and same store sales increased 4%, primarily due to a 1.2% gain in customer count and a 2.7% increase in average ticket per customer.

Cost Plus' year-to-date net loss was $20.0 million, or 90 cents per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $25.6 million, or $1.16 per diluted share, for the same period last year.

Net sales for the 29 weeks were up 4.3% to $599.5 million versus $575.0 million a year ago, and same store sales increased 4.1%.

"I am pleased with the consistent performance of our business and the improvement in customer traffic and average ticket led by a strong customer response to our dining and living room furniture events," said Barry Feld, president and ceo. "As we approach the holiday season, we are confident that we will continue to successfully execute within our guidance range which will result in earnings per share of 62 to 68 cents per diluted share for the full year of fiscal 2011 compared to 21 cents per diluted share last year."

Cost Plus offered an update on its fourth quarter and fiscal 2011 outlook.

For the fourth quarter, the company now expects net sales in the range of $354 million to $360 million, based on a same store sales increase in the range of 4% to 6% compared to a same store sales increase of 7.7% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010. For fiscal 2011, Cost Plus said it expects net sales in the range of $953 million to $960 million, based on a same store sales increase in the range of 4% to 5% compared to a same store sales increase of 7.2% for the full year of fiscal 2010.

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