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Cost Plus says 4Q sales down


OAKLAND, Calif. Cost Plus today reported net sales for the 13-week fourth quarter ended Feb. 2 were $380.2 million, a 4.2% decrease from the $396.7 million 14-week fourth quarter ended Feb. 3, 2007. On a comparable 13-week quarter, net sales increased by 1.1%. Same-store sales for the quarter decreased 3.2% compared to a 3.9% decrease last year. Net sales for the 52 week fiscal 2007 were $1.02 billion, a 1.6% decrease from $1.04 billion for the 53 week fiscal 2006. On a comparable 52 week basis, total sales increased by 0.4%. For the full year, same-store sales decreased 5.4% compared to a decrease of 3.3% last year.

Barry Feld, president and ceo, commented, We began fiscal 2007 with an intense focus on reconnecting with our loyal customer base and reinforcing our everyday low price strategy. Despite progressively lowering prices throughout the year, the average spend per customer increased 4% in the fourth quarter driven by higher units per transaction. Our lower cost of goods structure combined with the improved sell-through of holiday merchandise resulted in a higher buyer margin rate and a higher gross profit rate in the fourth quarter in comparison with last year. 

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007, the company reported a net loss of $12.5 million, or 56 cents per share. Excluding the property and equipment impairment, tax asset valuation allowance and severance payments, the company's net profit on a non-GAAP basis for the quarter would have been $9.4 million or 43 cents per share.

The company expects total first quarter fiscal 2008 net sales in the range of $206 million to $214 million, based on a same-store sales performance in the range of negative 2% to positive 2% and the opening of 8 new stores, compared to 6 new stores in the same period last year. The company is projecting a first quarter 2008 loss from continuing operations in the range of $19 million to $22 million.

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