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Saks Q1 comparable store sales soar in April
May '08
Retailer Saks Incorporated announced that owned sales totaled $349.7 million for the four weeks ended May 3, 2008 compared to $281.3 million for the four weeks ended May 5, 2007, a 24.3% increase. Comparable store sales increased 23.9% for the period.

For the first quarter ended May 3, 2008, owned sales totaled $853.4 million compared to $785.6 million for the prior year first quarter ended May 5, 2007, an 8.6% increase. Comparable store sales increased 8.4% for the quarter.

For April, the strongest categories at Saks Fifth Avenue were women's designer and "gold range" apparel, men's apparel and shoes, jewelry, women's shoes, and handbags. The weakest categories at Saks Fifth Avenue for April were women's classic bridge apparel and women's petites and large sizes. Saks Direct and Saks Off 5th performed well for the month.

Sales performance for April was positively affected by increased promotional activity. These promotions included a more extensive Friends & Family event and the acceleration of a spring season clearance event into the last week of April this year from the first week of May last year.

Management estimates that, excluding these promotional changes, April comparable store sales would have increased by high-single digits and that comparable store sales for the first quarter would have increased by mid-single digits.

Customers have responded to the increased promotional activity and as a result, management believes that it is on track to achieve targeted inventory levels by the end of the second fiscal quarter. The increased promotional activity will have a meaningful negative impact on the Company's first quarter gross margin rate.

For the second quarter, management expects low single digit comparable store sales growth, modestly reduced year-over-year promotional activity, and modest year-over-year improvement in the gross margin rate.

Saks Incorporated

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