Value City records 1Q loss of $7.8M

Don Hogsett, Jeff Linville, June 15, 2001

COLUMBUS, OH — With same-store sales dropping off and costs and interest expense both headed sharply higher, Value City Department Stores recorded a first-quarter loss of $7.8 million.

Sales climbed higher by 14.7 percent, to $530.1 million from $462.1 million last year, getting a big lift from last year's acquisition of Filene's Basement Stores. But same-store sales declined by 3.9 percent, up against a year-ago gain of 6.5 percent.

Putting earnings under pressure, costs climbed higher by 160 basis points, to 39.3 percent from 37.7 percent a year ago. Measured in absolute dollars, costs shot up by 19.7 percent, or $34.3 million.

Acting as a further drag on profits, interest expense shot by 57.6 percent, to $8.4 million from $5.4 million, costing the off-price retailer an extra $3.1 million. Driving the big increase in interest expense, long-term debt shot up by 46.1 percent, to $401.9 million from $275.1 million in the wake of the Filene's Basement buyout.

On the upside, the company's cash position improved to $48.8 million from $7.7 million last year, and inventories were whittled down by 14.6 percent, to $484.1 million from $566.7 million last year.

Value City is the nation's 31st largest retailer of home textiles products, with home fashions sales last year of $125 million.

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