California drought and Easter shift affect 99 Cents Only’s Q1 comps

The drought’s effect on fresh produce in California and the timing of this year’s Easter holiday adversely affected 99 Cents Only Stores’ comparable-store sales in the first quarter of fiscal 2015.

Same-store sales decreased 0.5%, calculated on a comparable 13-week period of the prior year. The company reported net sales of $477.9 million, an increase of 7% from $445.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014.

Because the company changed its fiscal year to be in line with its peers in the retail industry, its calculation for same-store sales was based on stores that have been opened for at least 14 months — including stores that have been remodeled, expanded or relocated during that period — rather than on stores that have been open or reopened for 15 months.

"We have been pleased with the substantial progress made on implementation of our strategic plan during the quarter," said CEO Stephane Gonthier. "We continue to be excited about the sales and margin opportunities available in the near- to medium-term through direct sourcing and our initiative to raise shelf heights across the chain."

Net income was $9.6 million in the quarter compared to net income of $0.9 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2014.

During the quarter, the company opened three net new stores. As of the quarter’s close, the company operated 346 stores, an increase of 9.5% in store count over last year.



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