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99 Cents Only Sees Comp Store Sales Slip In Q1

For the first quarter of fiscal 2015 ended May 2, 99 Cents Only Stores, LLC announced that net sales increased to $477.9 million, compared to $445.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. However, same-store sales slipped 0.5%, calculated on a comparable 13-week period versus the prior-year period.

Net income was $9.58 million versus $897,000 for the first quarter of fiscal 2014.

“We have been pleased with the substantial progress made on implementation of our strategic plan during the quarter,” 99 Cents Only CEO Stephane Gonthier said, in announcing the financial results.  “Although our comp sales were impacted by the timing of this year’s Easter holiday and lower availability of fresh produce as a result of the drought conditions in California, we continue to be excited about the sales and margin opportunities available in the near- to medium-term through direct sourcing and our initiative to raise shelf heights across the chain.”

As previously announced, 99 Cent Only changed its fiscal year from the Saturday closest to the end of March, to the Friday closest to the end of January, to be in line with typical retail industry practices. As a result, the comparable interim prior-year financial statements have been recast in relation to the new fiscal calendar.

Also, in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, the company modified its definition of comparable store sales. Before, it defined comps as sales at stores that have been open at least 15 months. When stores were relocated, or closed and later reopened in the same location, the affected stores were not considered in comparable sales analysis. Stores would only be included in the same-store sales analysis once they had been open, or reopened, for 15 months. Under the new definition, comparable store sales are sales at stores that have been opened at least 14 months, including stores that have been remodeled, expanded or relocated in that period.