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Strong 4Q sales keep 99 Cents a hot commodity


COMMERCE, Calif. -- Even with an extra week in this year's reporting period, 99 Cents Only Stores reported a total sales increase for it fiscal fourth quarter. The company reported total sales of $378.5 million for the 14-week fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 ended April 2, 2011, compared with $339.3 million for the 13-week fourth quarter in the prior fiscal year.

The company reported a same-store sales increase of 0.5% for the quarter. Excluding Texas operations, comps were up 0.7%.

Eric Schiffer, CEO, commented, "Our fourth quarter same-store sales growth was 0.5%, on a comparable 13-week basis, which was in line with our expectations. We are encouraged that our same-store sales improved compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2011."

99 Cents Only said it opened five stores during the fourth quarter. This includes three in California, one in Arizona and the re-opening of one company-owned store in Texas.The gross and saleable retail square footage at the end of the fourth quarter were 6.05 million and 4.76 million, respectively. This represents an increase of 3.3% for each of gross and saleable square footage and an increase of 3.6% in the store count over last year, based on 285 stores, the company reported.

For fiscal 2011, the company reported that total sales were $1.4 billion, compared with $1.35 billion for the prior-year period.Same-store sales for fiscal 2011 increased 0.7% compared with the same period in the prior fiscal year. For the company's non-Texas operations, same-store sales increased 0.8% in fiscal 2011.

Last month, 99 Cents Only received a buyout offer from Leonard Green & Partners. If the company continues to produce strong sales, 99 Cents could remain attractive to potential buyers.

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