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Logistics, inventory flow help Gottschalks

Fresno, CA — While it streamlined its store base during the first quarter, Gottschalks saw results this quarter from its new merchandise replenishment system and improved inventory flow, which resulted in a gross margin improvement of 50 basis points, said Jim Famalette, president and ceo.

Previously out of stock on sizes and basic items, it is now more in stock on a more frequent basis, he said. "We've done a better job of focusing on the existing stores and getting the right inventory into the stores at the right time."

After closing six stores earlier, Famalette said Gotts had no plans to shutter any more this year, though it continues to closely monitor the stores' performance. It also was very pleased with the "tremendous progress" in its Pacific Northwest stores, he noted.

Though he wouldn't comment on the Elder-Beerman and The Bon Ton situation, Famalette did say that if a potential buyer approached Gottschalks, it would do what was best for the company, though there is no activity right now.

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