NEW YORK -- Even before the effects of an accounting change, The Elder-Beerman Stores Corp.'s first quarter sunk further into the red.Including a change of accounting, losses for the quarter grew to $17.5 million, or $1.54 a share. This compared with year-ago losses of $212,000, or 2 cents. Without the adjustment, the loss in the most recent quarter, ended May 4, was $3.5 million, or 31 cents.Revenues of $149 million added 1.1 percent to the year-ago take of $147.3 million. Comparable-store sales went in the other direction, though, and sunk 2.8 percent.President and chief executive Byron Bergren, in a statement, noted: "We expect to continue to feel the effects of a soft economy for at least the first half of the year and have planned our business accordingly."Our inventory levels are lower and the currency is higher than last year, and we plan further improvement in that area," said the ceo.

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