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Pamida dragging down ShopKo

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Checked by mounting losses in its small-store Pamida unit, heartland discounter ShopKo Stores Inc. recorded a widening first-quarter loss of $2.4 million, more than twice the size of a year-before deficit of $1.1 million.

Pushing the bottom line underwater, Pamida ran out of steam after making some earlier progress, posting a $2.4 million loss, up from $1.4 million last year. Weakness at Pamida offset a modest operating profit at the core ShopKo business of $13.8 million, down 12.7 percent from $15.9 million last year.

Tugging at Pamida's bottom line was a weakening average gross margin of 24.9 percent, down 80 basis points, or eight-tenths of a percentage point from 25.7 percent a year ago.

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