While the Company does not recognize sales until goods are delivered to the customer, the Company's management tracks written sales (the dollar value of sales orders taken, rather than delivered) as a key store performance indicator. Written sales for comparable stores decreased by 1.4% for the fourth quarter of 2010 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.
Gross margins for the quarter decreased 0.7 percentage points to 48.1% as compared to the fourth quarter of 2009 primarily due to lower margins in the recently acquired stores. SG&A increased $3.4 million from the fourth quarter of 2009, primarily due to increased store count. On a comparable store basis, gross margins decreased 0.1 percentage points to 48.8% and SG&A decreased 1.3 percentage points to 50.1% for the fourth quarter of 2010 as compared to the comparable 2009 period. Operating losses for the comparable stores were reduced by 48.7% to $0.3 million. In all other stores (consisting of the 14 stores which have been acquired, opened or closed during the twelve months ended November 27, 2010), the operating loss was $0.5 million or 6.5% of sales. This higher level of operating losses reflects the fact that several of the acquired stores were struggling or failing at the time of acquisition. It has generally taken six to 12 months of operations by corporate retail management to either implement the changes necessary to improve performance in the acquired stores or to make a final determination regarding the on-going viability. Refer to the accompanying schedule of Supplemental Retail Information for results of operations for the Company's retail segment by comparable and all other stores. The dollar value of retail backlog, representing orders received but not yet shipped to customers, was $13.7 million, or an average of $291 thousand per open store, at November 27, 2010 as compared with $8.7 million, or an average of $241 thousand per open store, at November 28, 2009.