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Burlington Coat Cuts Losses in Q1

Burlington Coat Factory reduced its losses and boosted its same-store and net sales and gross margins during the first quarter.

NEW YORK — Burlington Coat Factory reduced its losses and boosted its same-store and net sales and gross margins during the first quarter.

In the three months ended Aug. 30, the off-price retailer, acquired and taken private by Bain Capital Partners for $2.06 billion in 2006, registered a net loss of $32.5 million, one-third less than the $50.4 million loss logged in the prior-year quarter.

Boosted by 33 new stores, for a total of 423, net sales were up 4.2 percent to $707 million from $678.8 million while same-store sales advanced 0.2 percent. Gross margin improved 330 basis points to 37.9 percent of sales from 34.6 percent, attributed by the company in its Form 10-Q, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, to both higher initial markups, due to what it described as “better negotiating and buying efforts,” and an accelerated markdown schedule.

“This is a positive start to our fiscal year,” said Mark Nesci, CEO. “We remain cautiously optimistic during these uncertain macroeconomic times and realize that any progress will require the continued hard work and dedication from all areas of the business.”

The firm said that EBITDA during the quarter was $11 million compared to an EBITDA loss of $8.5 million a year ago. Interest expense was reduced to $26.4 million from $33.2 million, but the firm’s income tax benefit was also cut, to $23.9 million from $33.4 million.

Burlington Coat operates 399 stores under the Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse name, two Cohoes Fashions units, 15 MJM Designer Shoes shops and one Super Baby Depot.