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Gottschalks sees tough 2008

Fresno, Calif. – Western regional department store operator Gottschalks anticipates a challenging year ahead, executives said during the retailer’s year-end conference call yesterday.

 

The company expects to lower overhead by about $5 million this year by installing debit pads in stores to reduce bank charges, lower accounting and legal fees, and ongoing savings from a revamped workmen’s comp program.

 

“We will be aggressively managing our expense levels and remain focused on tightly controlling inventory levels during this period of economic slowdown,” said Jim Famalette, chairman and ceo.

 

For the year ended Feb. 3, Gottschalks reported a net loss of $12.4 million, or 91 cents per share, compared to net income of $2.6 million, or 19 cents per share, during the previous fiscal year. Sales fell 8.1% to $683.9 million, with comps sliding 5.1%.

 

For the quarter, net income narrowed to $1.1 million, or 8 cents per share, off 88% from $8.9 million, or 64 cents per share in the year-earlier period. Sales dropped 14.2% to $204.4 million, with comps tumbling 8.5%.

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