Loss narrows for regional discounter

Duckwall-ALCO Stores on Friday reported a 1.7% first quarter same-store sales increase that was regarded as an improvement for the company, but light relative to figures posted by retail leaders.

Net sales from continuing operations for the first quarter ended April 29 increased 3.6% to $117.2 million, and comps, excluding fuel sales, increased 1.7%. Despite the top line improvement, the regional operator of 216 discount stores in small markets, reported a $1.3 million net loss or 34 cents a share. That was actually an improvement from the first quarter the prior year when the company reported a loss of $1.5 million or 40 cents a share. When adjusted for store closing expenses, the loss from continuing operations was 30 cents a share compared to 40 cents the prior year.

“Initiatives to build top line sales and profitability continue to improve results,” said president and CEO Richard Wilson, who highlight the comp improvement.

He noted that the company is focused on four areas to drive further improvement during the remainder of the year including; executing regional pricing strategies, further rationalizing the store base, reducing debt by eliminating unproductive inventory.

“We are also excited about the initial success of our recently opened stores in Conifer, Colorado and Pinedale, Wyoming. In addition, our expanded ecommerce initiative will launch at the end of June and will include more than 13,000 new products,” Wilson said.

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