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ShopKo sees home rebounding

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Soft home sales at the ShopKo chain are climbing out of the trough following a slack fourth quarter, ShopKo Inc. executives said during the retailer's fourth quarter conference call this week.

"The linens and domestics areas suffered from weak sales of seasonal products, and we were in the midst of a transition in our fashion bed and bath merchandise," said Sam Duncan, president and CEO. "This transition was completed in January and already sales results are encouraging."

In the Pamida stores division, fourth quarter sales results were also weak for domestics and women's apparel, "due in part to the planned reduction of space dedicated to apparel in our (remodeled stores)," Duncan said.

Like Shopko stores, the Pamida division is remodeling key units. The mini-remodels for Pamida "continue to perform well," Duncan said. "Excluding pharmacy, the main store sales of these 11 test stores turned 2.4 percent above the rest of the chain in the fourth quarter."

He added that "even lower-cost (remodeling) versions" that launched last fall in 17 low-volume, smaller-size stores saw sales turn 6.6 percent higher than the rest of the chain during the same period.

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