99 Cents Only sees slight Q4 comps growth

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. — 99 Cents Only Stores announced that retail sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, a 14-week period, were $366.4 million, compared with $328.6 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, a 13-week period. The additional week included in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 contributed an additional $26.9 million of retail sales, the company reported. Same-store sales, calculated on a comparable 13-week period, increased 0.5%

The company reported that consolidated net income increased by $1 million to $17.9 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, versus $16.9 million in the prior year, or 24 cents per diluted share.

Eric Schiffer, CEO of 99 Cents Only Stores, stated, "We are pleased with the continued progress of our long-term operational improvement programs. Continuous improvement in all areas of our cost structure has enabled us to achieve a pre-tax profit margin of 7.4% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 versus 7.3% for the same quarter in the prior year, and 8.3% for the full fiscal year versus 6.9% for the prior year. Despite continued improvement in our pre-tax profit margin, our net income as a percentage of sales declined for the fourth quarter to 4.7% versus 5.0% last year. This percentage decline was primarily due to an increase in the effective tax rate from 31.9% of pre-tax income to 36.3% of pre-tax income, primarily due to one-time tax benefits in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010."

The company believes that revenue growth in fiscal 2012 will primarily result from new store openings and increases in same-store sales. For fiscal 2012, the company expects same-store sales to be positive in low single digits and plans to open at least 16 stores with most of its new stores expected to be opened in California. The first new stores should open in July and the majority of the store openings will be in the second half of fiscal 2012.