ABILENE, Kan., Dec. 9, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Duckwall-ALCO Stores, Inc. (Nasdaq:DUCK), which specializes in providing a superior selection of essential products for everyday life in small-town America, today announced operating results for its third quarter ended October 31, 2010.

Net sales from continuing operations for the third quarter of fiscal 2011 decreased 0.6% to $110.5 million and same-store sales decreased 2.3%. Net sales from continuing operations year-to-date decreased 2.8% to $341.5 million and same-store sales decreased 4.2%.

Net loss for the third quarter was $2.0 million, or $0.53 per diluted share, compared to net loss of $1.4 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2010. Year-to-date net loss for fiscal 2011 was $5.3 million, or $1.37 per diluted share, compared to net earnings of $1.5 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, for the same period of the prior fiscal year.

Richard Wilson, President and CEO, commented, "In the third quarter we completed the implementation of a number of strategic and operational initiatives that began after my arrival at the Company in February. The 2.3% decline in same-store sales result for the quarter, while still negative, showed improvement over second-quarter results of negative 7.2%. I am encouraged by the tireless dedication of our associates to accomplish the actions aimed at improving performance, and by our recently reported November same-store sales increase of 6.2% for ALCO stores."                        

"Earnings for the quarter were impacted by a number of charges, including $484,000 related to our store reset initiative, $210,000 related to the integration of Associated Wholesale Grocers' 'Best Choice' and 'Always Save' brands across our ALCO stores, and $60,000 in severance expense due to a reduction of force in our corporate office."                                                                

In the past eight months the Company has completed several key initiatives. Through the third quarter, the Company has:
  1. Remerchandised and reset all 214 ALCO stores to expand space devoted to key trip-driving departments such as food, paper and cleaning products.
  2. Updated ALCO stores with new graphic signage featuring our improved merchandise and brand selection.
  3. Improved our value proposition in the consumables businesses with the introduction of the "Best Choice" and "Always Save" brands.
  4. Integrated new space management tools designed to improve shelf productivity and return on investment.
  5. Expanded our "Everyday Value" and "Dollar" merchandise selections to position ALCO as the consumer's destination for exceptional value for everyday needs.

"As previously announced, we have decided to close the Duckwall stores, which are smaller stores that contributed less than 4.0% of overall sales. After thorough analysis, the Board decided to redeploy assets to support the core ALCO stores based on sales and profitability," Mr. Wilson added.