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Duckwall-Alco sees 2Q gains, set to enter urban markets

Retail Editor 4, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, September 9, 2011

Abilene, Kan. - Recent improvements to its merchandising strategies paired with cost-reduction initiatives were credited with further propelling regional discounter Duckwall-Alco Store's same-store sales growth and better operating results over its second quarter.

Net earnings for the period, ended July 31, turned positive - reaching $1.2 million, or 32 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $1.1 million, or 28 cents per share, a year ago.

Sales rose 7.9% to $122.0 million, and same-store sales, excluding fuel sales, increased 7.2%. Domestics was singled out as one of the areas experiencing gross margin improvement.

The company's growth strategy calls for the launch of a new pilot project aimed at adding future store locations in urban markets "where the Alco value proposition and shopping experience can offer superior convenience to consumers," according to president and ceo Richard Wilson.

During the second half of fiscal 2012, Duckwall-Alco plans to open two Alco stores in Texas: Grand Prairie, a Dallas suburb; and Houston.

"We believe these stores in more densely populated areas will reach a higher volume of customers with merchandise that meets their basic daily shopping needs," he said.

Year to date, sales were up 6.8% to $236.2 million, and same-store sales, excluding fuel sales, climbed 5.2%.

The company's $600,000 loss for the first half was an improvement over the prior year's a net loss of $3.3 million.

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