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Duckwall-Alco Revved by Strong Q1 as it Readies Ecommerce Launch

ABILENE, KANSAS - A first quarter with positive sales and comps plus a narrower net loss are helping Duck-wall-Alco set the pace as the regional discounter plans to launch its new ecommerce business and expand its store presence into new markets.
     Set to launch at the end of this month, the company's expanded ecommerce initiative will include more than 13,000 new products, according to Richard Wilson, president and ceo.
     "The team in e-commerce, headed up by Brent Streit, vp marketing and ecommerce, represents an outstanding example of the dedication and strategic execution the entire management team at Alco is committed to providing Alco's customers and shareholders," he said during last week's quarterly call with analysts.
     For the first quarter, ended April 29, net loss came in at $1.3 million, or 34 cents per share, an improvement from a loss of $1.5 million, or 40 cents per share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2012.
     Net sales increased 3.6% to $117.2 million, and same-store sales, excluding fuel center sales, increased 1.7% to $113.0 million.
     The company is pursuing four key initiatives to improve sales and profitability:
     • Improving gross margin through regional pricing strategies;
     • Closing unprofitable locations while modestly growing the chain's store base;
    • Reducing debt by elminating unproductive inventory; Growing top line sales through better marketing, value and customer service.
     Duck-wall-Alco currently operates 216 units in 23 states.

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