NEW YORK — Tighter controls on costs and improved margins helped reduce losses at Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp. during its traditionally tepid first quarter.

This story first appeared in the October 11, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Net losses of $16.1 million, or 36 cents per share, during the quarter compared with a year-ago deficit of $20.6 million, or 46 cents.

Sales for the quarter ended Aug. 31, plumped up 12.4 percent to $513 million from $456.3 million a year ago. Comparable-store sales inched up 1.7 percent.

Gross margins, exclusive of depreciation and amortization, expanded 70 basis points to 35.4 percent for the quarter. Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales decreased 140 basis points to 38.4 percent.

At the end of the quarter, the Burlington, N.J.-based off-pricer operated 324 stores in 42 states. During the period, Burlington Coat Factory added eight new doors, relocated two in the same market and closed three others.