NEW YORK — Marginally higher costs pushed Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp. to a slightly wider loss in the first quarter.

For the three months ended Aug. 30, the Burlington, N.J.-based retail chain posted a net loss of $17.1 million, or 38 cents a share. By comparison, last year the company registered a loss of $16 million, or 36 cents.

Net sales for the period grew 4.7 percent to $529.6 million from $506.1 million a year ago, but same-store sales slipped 1.6 percent.

With outerwear a large component of Burlington Coat’s business, the firm customarily records a loss in the first quarter.

Although gross margin as a percentage of sales expanded 90 basis points to 36.5, that was partially offset by a 22 basis-point increase in selling, general and administrative costs. Greater allowances for depreciation, amortization and interest expenses also contributed to the net loss.

“Gross margin improved due to slightly higher initial markups and lower markdown transactions during the quarter,” said chief accounting officer Robert LaPenta Jr. on a conference call with analysts. “The increase in selling, general and administrative costs reflects the additional expense of 13 stores opened in the quarter and the opening of the Edgewater Park distribution facility.”

Burlington plans to open an additional 16 to 20 stores and relocate eight during the remainder of the fiscal year.

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