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Le Château declares special dividend of $0.25 per share

Jun '08
Le Château Inc reported that net earnings for first quarter ended April 26, 2008 increased 33.3% to $5.6 million from $4.2 million for the first quarter ended April 28, 2007. Earnings per share (basic) for the first quarter increased to $0.23 per share from $0.17 per share the previous year.

Earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the first quarter increased 21.6% to $12.4 million or 17.5% of sales, compared to $10.2 million or 14.4% of sales last year, resulting primarily from continued improvements in gross margins.

Sales for the first quarter increased 0.3% to $70.6 million from $70.4 million for the same period last year. Comparable store sales decreased by 4.6% versus the same period a year ago.

During the first quarter, the Company opened six new stores and expanded six existing locations, resulting in the addition of 41,000 square feet or 4.2% to the Le Château network, bringing the total floor space at end of period to 1,006,000 square feet.

The Board of Directors has declared two dividends for the holders of Class A subordinate voting shares and Class B voting shares. The Board of Directors has increased the regular quarterly dividend by 20% from $0.125 to $0.15 per share and has declared a special dividend of $0.25 per share.

Both dividends (constituting eligible dividends for income tax purposes) are payable on August 19, 2008 to the shareholders of record at the close of business on July 25, 2008.

The Company announced today that it intends, subject to the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange, to proceed with a normal course issuer bid. Under the bid, the Company may purchase up to 925,148 Class A subordinate voting shares of the Company, representing 5% of the issued shares of such class as at June 5, 2008.

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