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Stage Stores CEO disappointed with July sales results

Aug '08
Stage Stores Inc reported that its total sales for the four week July period ended August 2, 2008 decreased 1.0% to $108.1 million from $109.2 million in the prior year four week period ended August 4, 2007. Comparable store sales decreased 6.2% versus a decrease of 1.7% last year.

Major categories of business which achieved comparable store sales increases during July included cosmetics at +11.9% and dresses at +2.0%.

For the second quarter ended August 2, 2008, the Company reported that its total sales increased 3.8% to $372.7 million from $359.2 million for the second quarter last year. Comparable store sales for the quarter decreased 1.4% versus an increase of 0.5% in the prior year period.

Jim Scarborough, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Our July comparable store sales results reflect the continuing challenging economic environment, as well as a slow start to the back-to-school selling period, despite tax free sales events in a number of states.

While we are disappointed with our July sales results, we did exceed our total and comparable store sales guidance ranges for the second quarter, and therefore, we continue to believe that we will meet or exceed the high end of our earnings guidance range for the quarter of $0.17 to $0.23 per diluted share.”

The Company plans to report its second quarter results before the market opens on Thursday, August 21, 2008, and will hold a conference call and webcast the same day beginning at 8:30 am Eastern Time.

Store Activity:
During July, the Company opened new Palais Royal stores in Rosenberg and Livingston, TX, a new Stage store in Chalmette, LA, and new Bealls stores in Burley and Blackfoot, ID. The two new Idaho stores represent the Company's first stores in that state, and increased its state count to 36. The 5 July new store openings brought the total number of stores opened during the first half of the fiscal year to 28. During the month, the Company also closed 2 stores.

Stage Stores Inc

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