By  on September 2, 2008

Gottschalks Inc. managed to reduce its second-quarter net loss despite high-single-digit declines in net and same-store sales.

The Fresno, Calif.-based regional department store chain posted a loss in the quarter ended Aug. 2 of $4.4 million, or 33 cents a diluted share, compared with a loss of $4.8 million, or 35 cents a share, a year ago. Second-quarter sales fell 7.8 percent to $133.7 million from $145 million in the same period last year. Same-store sales were off 7.3 percent during the period.

The company said that, in an effort to return to the black in the quarter, it had reduced selling, general and administrative expenses by $3.9 million, to $46.5 million. The retailer also said it finished the quarter with inventory levels down 9.7 percent.

Jim Famalette, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “We continue to prudently manage those areas of business within our control.”

To help in that effort, Gottschalks recently consolidated dual stores at East Hills Mall in Bakersfield, Calif., and sold one of its wholly owned spaces at the Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale, Calif., another location with two stores. The company said that work on a new store in Bend, Ore., remains on track.

For the first six months of the year, Gottschalks posted a loss of $9.5 million, or 72 cents a share, just above the loss of $9.4 million, or 69 cents a share, it posted in the first half of 2007. Sales for the first half fell 9.7 percent to $258.8 million from $286.8 million a year ago.

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