Total sales for the quarter increased 3.5% to $379 million from $366 million in the prior year first quarter ended April 28, 2012. Comparable store sales for the quarter increased 0.7%. The Company noted that its best performing categories were accessories and home & gifts. Geographically, the Southwest was the best performing region for the quarter.
The Company reported an adjusted loss for the quarter, excluding one-time items, of $0.8 million, or $0.02 per share. This compares to adjusted earnings, excluding one-time items, of $1.4 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, for the prior year first quarter.
Commenting on the Company’s first quarter results, Michael Glazer, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “The unseasonably cool weather in March and April, particularly when compared to last year’s warm spring, strongly impacted our sales performance. We managed our inventory aggressively and ended the quarter in a clean inventory position. We feel good about our merchandise assortments going into the second quarter.
“From an operational standpoint, we made excellent progress on a number of our key initiatives during the quarter. Most importantly, our South Hill consolidation remained on track for a midyear completion.
"We strongly believe that the consolidation will increase our productivity, create synergies, enhance our purchasing power, provide for a consistent message to our customers and accelerate sales growth. In addition, we opened 10 new stores, and started the roll-out of our new prototype fixture packages in our top 40 doors.
“Looking ahead, we remain optimistic about our prospects for the remainder of the year. We believe sales in the second quarter will benefit from pent-up demand for seasonal merchandise as temperatures normalize. In addition, our accelerated first quarter clearance cadence, similar to last year’s third quarter, should have a positive impact on our gross margins for the second quarter.
"Overall, we feel extremely positive about the initiatives that we have underway to drive top-line and bottom-line growth. As such, we are maintaining our comparable store sales and adjusted EPS guidance for the year. As another testament to our confidence in delivering future earnings growth, last month we announced a 25% increase in our quarterly dividend rate. This significant increase demonstrates our commitment to create value for our shareholders through increasing shareholder distributions,” Mr. Glazer concluded.
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