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Gottschalks to open store, target Hispanics in 2005

FRESNO , Calif. — Coming off third quarter loss, Gottschalks said it is looking forward to 2005, when it will open at least one new unit — possibly more. Not since 2000 has Gottschalks opened new stores, said Jim Famalette, president and CEO.

He added that the company remains on par with previous guidance, which allows for the potential to open new stores in the new year. In the third quarter, Gottschalks broke ground on a new prototype — slated to be its new concept flagship store — here at the River Park lifestyle center. It is scheduled to open Aug. 1.

In other news, Gottschalks said during the call that it has begun efforts to "redirect" its marketing to better serve the Hispanic communities that shop some of its store locations. Famalette said the company has a "growing" Hispanic customer base.

The company is optimistic about the holiday selling season, which it expects will center on juniors apparel, sportswear and handbags.

Gottschalks reported a net loss for the third quarter of $1.4 million, or 11 cents per diluted share, up from a net loss of $2.6 million, or 20 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2003.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2004, the company reported a net loss of $3.1 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, versus a net loss of $6.6 million, or 51 cents per diluted share, reported for the comparable period last year.

For the third quarter, same-store sales increased 1.8 percent, and total sales increased 1.4 percent to $147.9 million, from $145.9 million for the third quarter last year. On a year-to-date basis, same-store sales increased 1.7 percent from the comparable period of 2003.

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