NEW YORK — Bradlees Inc. said Tuesday cost reductions offset weak apparel sales and profits gained 50 percent in the third quarter to $525,000, or 5 cents a share, from $350,000, or 3 cents, a year ago.
The results were slightly above Wall Street estimates of 4 cents per share.
Sales dipped 1.8 percent to $424 million from $431.8 million. Same-store sales declined 5 percent.
As reported, Mark A. Cohen became chairman and chief executive Saturday, succeeding Barry Berman. He was chairman and ceo of Lazarus, a division of Federated Department Stores Inc.
Samuel W.W. Mandell, Bradlees president and chief operating officer, said the discount department store chain’s sales and gross margins were down in the quarter, but were largely offset by cost reductions. He blamed the sales shortfall, particularly in apparel, on unseasonably warm fall weather in the Northeast.
Mandell said a 5 percent decline in advertising pages also contributed to the weak sales. However, inventory levels are below last year’s on a comparable-store basis, he said.
In the nine months ended Nov. 5, before a $485,000 accounting charge, Bradlees lost $7.3 million against a loss of $14.1 million before special items a year ago. Sales were flat at $1.3 billion and same-store sales fell 2 percent. Four stores were opened in this year’s third quarter and six stores on the first day of the fourth quarter. Bradlees, based in Braintree, Mass., operates 136 stores.

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