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Duckwall-ALCO reports declines in 3Q

Abilene, Kan. – Regional discount department store chain Duckwall-ALCO Stores Inc. reported a 2.9% decline in net sales and a 1.7% decrease in same-store sales for company’s third quarter, but modest gains in its year-to-date results.

 The 13-week period ended Nov. 1 resulted in $111.5 million in net sales from continuing operations. Net loss for the quarter was $1.4 million, or ($0.38) per basic share, compared to a net loss of $1.7 million, or ($0.44) per basic share.

Results benefited from an 80 basis point reduction in SG&A expenses as a percentage of net sales offset by a 30 basis point reduction in gross margin as a percentage of net sales “amid a very competitive pricing environment,” the company said.

“We are encouraged by our performance. While same store sales declined this quarter 1.7%, year to date sales and customer counts remain stable and gross margin dollars are up 4%, exceeding objective,” said Larry Zigerelli, president and ceo. “We are outperforming competition in our markets, as [evident in] our significant market share increases. Our holiday season is off to a strong start and recent market research results indicate the vast majority of our customers believe we are a better place to shop today than we were one year ago due to improved product quality, value and customer service. 

Better news came from year-to-date results in net sales from continuing operations, which grew slightly by 0.7% to $352.2 million, and same-store sales, which also showed a modest increase of 0.2%.  

“Our turnaround is not complete by any means, but we continue to track with plans for store transformation and improving performance,” Zigerelli said.

Added Royce Winsten, chairman: “The economy is weak and customers are stressed. Our customers are buying less and at lower prices than they have before. The board and management are working very hard to quickly make the necessary adjustments to improve future performance.”

Duckwall-ALCO, which operates 258 units in 23 states under two nameplates – Alco and Duckwall -- noted its net earnings for the first nine periods of fiscal 2010 were $1.5 million, or $0.40 per diluted share. This compares to a net loss of $4.3 million, or ($1.12) per basic share, in the prior year period.

 

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