Gross profit margin, expressed as gross profit as a percentage of net sales, increased slightly for the three months ended December 31, 2012 to 27.3% from 27.2% for the comparable prior year period. The increase was largely due to increases in gross profit margin rates in the appliance and video categories, partially offset by decreases in gross profit margin rates in the computing and mobile phone and other categories. The appliance category was favorably impacted by a continued mix shift to higher efficiency products which generate higher gross margin rates. The increase in the video category gross margin rate was largely due to a favorable mix of larger LED model screen sizes, which generate higher gross margin rates than smaller screen LCD models. The computing and mobile phone category gross margin rate decrease was due to a decline in the gross margin rate of mobile phones, while the other category gross margin rate was pressured by declines in the gross margin rate of accessories.
SG&A expense, as a percentage of net sales, increased 47 basis points for the three months ended December 31, 2012 compared to the prior year period. The increase in SG&A as a percentage of net sales was largely a result of increases in occupancy costs as a percentage of net sales due to the deleveraging effect of the net sales decline in addition to an increase in home delivery expenses as a percentage of net sales due to a higher sales mix of deliverable product. This increase was partially offset by decreases in other SG&A accounts as a result of cost control measures.
Net advertising expense, as a percentage of net sales, increased 8 basis points during the three months ended December 31, 2012 compared to the prior year period. While the Company reduced its gross advertising spend from the prior year, the slight increase as a percentage of net sales was driven largely by the deleveraging effect of the net sales decline.
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