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Hancock reports Jan sales & announces 30 store closings

Feb '07
Hancock Fabrics Inc reported that sales in the five-week period ended February 3, 2007 totaled $35.1 million, compared to $31.9 million in the four-week period of the prior year ended January 28, 2006.

The increase in total sales was due to having an extra week in 2006, partially offset by having 44 fewer stores this year and a decline in comparable store sales of 4.0% in January attributable, in part, to difficult weather conditions in the Southwest and Midwest. The comparable store sales change is based on sales during the four weeks of January that were comparable between both years.

In the fourth quarter, total sales were $111.7 million versus $118.3 million a year ago, and comparable store sales were down 4.9%. In the full year, total sales were $388.3 million versus $403.2 million in 2005. Comparable store sales in 2006 declined 1.9%, including a 2.7% benefit from 42 stores that were liquidated earlier in the year in connection with store closing sale events.

Beginning in the first quarter of 2007, the Company will report sales on a quarterly basis and will discontinue its practice of reporting sales monthly, due to the fluctuations that occur between months as a result of changes in the timing of promotional activity, holidays and the retail calendar. This is particularly apparent in 2007, which starts a week later than the prior year due to 2006 having 53 weeks.

The Company also announced that it has made a decision to close 30 stores, representing approximately $18 million in annualized sales. Approximately one-half of the 30 stores have leases that expire in 2007 or 2008, while the others have lease commitments expiring in years 2009 to 2015.

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