NEW YORK — Nearly stagnant sales led Gottschalks to report a wider loss in the third quarter.

For the three months ended Nov. 2, the Fresno, Calif.-based regional department store company recorded a net loss of $2.6 million, or 20 cents a diluted share, versus a loss of $2.58 million, or 20 cents, in last year’s quarter. Results for the quarter include an income tax credit of $600,000, or 5 cents, arising from the realization of prior-years’ net operating losses. Excluding the credit, the net loss would have been a slightly higher $3.2 million, or 25 cents.

Total revenues ticked down 0.4 percent to $155.4 million from $156.1 million a year ago, but same-store sales increased 1.3 percent.

"While October sales were more in line with our expectations, we were not able to compensate for the lower sales early in the quarter," said chief executive officer Jim Famalette in a statement. "Our gross margin improved 60 basis points as a percentage of sales, but due to the lower sales volume, gross margin dollars were below plan."

Overall, for the first nine months of the year, Gottschalks sustained a net loss of $8 million, or 63 cents a diluted share, versus a year-ago loss of $9.6 million, or 76 cents. Net revenues for the period declined 2.3 percent to $466.8 million from $478.6 million last year, as same-store sales comped down 0.2 percent.

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