updated 6/9/2011 4:18:30 PM ET 2011-06-09T20:18:30

ABILENE, Kan., June 9, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Duckwall-ALCO Stores, Inc. (Nasdaq:DUCK), which specializes in providing a superior selection of essential products for everyday life in small-town America, today announced operating results for its first quarter ended May 1, 2011.

Net sales from continuing operations for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 increased $6.1 million, or 5.6%, to $114.6 million, compared to $108.5 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2011. Same-store sales, excluding fuel center sales, increased 3.2%, compared to the same period in the prior fiscal year.

Net loss for the first quarter was $1.9 million, or $0.48 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $2.3 million, or $0.60 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2011.

Richard Wilson, President and CEO, commented, "Our first-quarter results reflect continued improvement in top line sales and mark our second consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales. The merchandising strategies initiated last year to provide ALCO's core customer with better value, a cleaner and more organized shopping environment, and a new mix of product designed to increase average basket size are the main contributors to our improved top line sales performance."

Wilson added, "Our first-quarter net earnings improvement was primarily a result of lower operating expenses including lower payroll and legal expenses. Expense reduction initiatives designed to reduce payroll expense have been effective and management believes that these initiatives will continue to provide better operating results throughout fiscal 2012."

First-quarter gross margin was negatively impacted by increased sales in lower margin food and electronics businesses. The shift in sales to these categories was not offset by commensurate growth in seasonal apparel, and outdoor categories which carry a higher gross margin rate. Unseasonably cool temperatures and regional weather disruptions impacted these more profitable categories. The Company believes as weather returns to a more typical pattern, sales in the higher margin categories will increase and gross margins will improve.

Wilson concluded, "The team at ALCO has executed a significant number of major initiatives over the last 12 months. The foundational work to stabilize same-store sales, lever a reduced expense base and improve shareholder returns is underway and we look forward to delivering more profitable results going forward."

Investor Conference Call

The Company will host an investor conference call at 10:00 a.m. Central Time on Friday, June 10, 2011, to discuss operating results for the first quarter ended May 1, 2011. The dial-in number for the conference call is 888-778-8904 (international/local participants dial 913-312-0866), and the Confirmation Code is 9126361. Parties interested in participating in the conference call should dial in approximately five minutes prior to 10:00 a.m. Central Time. A replay of the call will be available after 1:30 p.m. Central Time June 10, 2011 through June14, 2011 by dialing 888-203-1112 or for international/local callers by dialing 719-457-0820. The Replay Passcode is 9126361. A replay of the call will also be available four hours after completion of the call by visiting the Investors page on the Company's website, www.ALCOstores.com.

Supplemental Data

The Company has included certain tables in this press release that are set forth fully in the Company's 10-Q.

Certain Non-GAAP Financial Measures

The Company has included Adjusted Gross Margin and Adjusted EBITDA, non-GAAP performance measures, as part of its disclosure as a means to enhance its communications with stockholders. Certain stockholders have specifically requested this information to assist them in comparing the Company to other retailers that disclose similar non-GAAP performance measures. Further, management utilizes these measures in internal evaluation, review of performance and in comparing the Company's financial measures to those of its peers. Adjusted EBITDA differs from the most comparable GAAP financial measure (earnings [loss] from continuing operations) in that it does not include certain items, as does Adjusted Gross Margin. These items are excluded by management to better evaluate normalized operational cash flow and expenses excluding unusual, inconsistent and non-cash charges.  To compensate for the limitations of evaluating the Company's performance using Adjusted Gross Margin and Adjusted EBITDA, management also utilizes GAAP performance measures such as gross margin, return on investment, return on equity and cash flow from operating activities.  As a result, Adjusted Gross Margin and Adjusted EBITDA may not reflect important aspects of the results of the Company's operations.

About Duckwall-ALCO Stores, Inc.

Duckwall-ALCO Stores, Inc. is a regional broad line retailer that specializes in meeting the needs of smaller, underserved communities across 23 states, primarily in the central United States. The Company offers an exceptional selection of quality products and recognized brand names at reasonable prices. Its specialty is delivering those products with the friendly, personal service its customers have come to expect. With 214 ALCO stores, the Company is proud to have continually provided excellent products at good value prices to its customers for 110 years. To learn more about the Company visit www.ALCOstores.com .

The Duckwall-ALCO Stores, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=5865

Forward-looking statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements, as referenced in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("the Act"). Forward-looking statements can be identified by the inclusion of "will," "believe," "intend," "expect," "plan," "project" and similar future-looking terms. You should not rely unduly on these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements reflect management's current views and projections regarding economic conditions, retail industry environments, and Company performance. Forward-looking statements inherently involve risks and uncertainties, and, accordingly, actual results may vary materially. Factors which could significantly change results include but are not limited to: sales performance, expense levels, competitive activity, interest rates, changes in the Company's financial condition, and factors affecting the retail category in general. Additional information regarding these and other factors may be included in the Company's 10-Q filings and other public documents, copies of which are available from the Company on request and are available from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

 
Duckwall-ALCO Stores, Inc.

Statements of Operations

(dollars in thousands, except share and per share amounts)

(Unaudited)
 
  Thirteen Week Periods Ended
  May 1, 2011 May 2, 2010
Net sales $114,559 $108,479
Cost of sales 81,374 75,261
     
Gross margin 33,185 33,218
     
Selling, general and administrative 32,983 33,376
Depreciation and amortization expenses 2,189 2,474
     
Total operating expenses 35,172 35,850
     
Operating loss from continuing operations (1,987) (2,632)
     
Interest expense 1,069 674
     
Loss from continuing operations before income taxes (3,056) (3,306)
     
Income tax benefit (1,136) (1,072)
     
Loss from continuing operations (1,920) (2,234)
     
Earnings (loss) from discontinued operations, net of income tax expense (benefit) of $36 in 2012 and ($25) in 2011 60 (41)
Net loss $ (1,860) $ (2,275)
     
Earnings (loss) per share    
Basic    
Continuing operations $ (0.50) $ (0.59)
Discontinued operations 0.02 (0.01)
     
Net loss per share $ (0.48) $ (0.60)
     
Earnings (loss) per share    
Diluted    
Continuing operations $ (0.50) $ (0.59)
Discontinued operations 0.02 (0.01)
     
Net loss per share $ (0.48) $ (0.60)
     
     
Weighted-average shares outstanding:    
Basic 3,841,895 3,811,153
Diluted 3,841,895 3,811,153
  Thirteen Week Periods Ended
  May 1,

2011
May 2,

2010
     
Same-store adjusted gross margin dollar change 0.8% (2.1)%
     
 

Same-store SG&A dollar change
(0.6)% (0.9)%
 

Same-store total customer count change
(3.4)% (3.0)%
 

Same-store average sale per ticket change
6.8% 0.7%
 
Duckwall-ALCO Stores, Inc.

Schedule of Adjusted EBITDA

(dollars in thousands, except share and per share amounts)

(Unaudited)
 
  52 Weeks Thirteen

Week Periods Ended
Trailing Twelve

Periods Ended
  Fiscal 2011 May 1,

2011
May 2,

2010
May 1,

2011
Net earnings (loss) from continuing operations (1) $(3,594) (1,920) (2,234) (3,280)
Plus:        
Interest 3,502 1,069 674 3,897
Tax benefit (1) (2,446) (1,136) (1,072) (2,510)
Depreciation and amortization (1) 10,014 2,189 2,474 9,729
Share-based compensation 316 100 81 335
Preopening store costs (2) 543 199 344
Executive and staff severance 540 48 588
Store reset costs 895 895
AWG transition costs 210 210
=Adjusted EBITDA (1) (3)(4) 9,980 350 122 10,208
         
Cash 4,189 5,720 5,186 5,720
Debt 59,072 64,815 35,606 64,815
Debt, net of cash $54,883 59,095 30,420 59,095

(1)   These amounts may not agree with 10-Qs of previous quarters due to subsequent store closures. These closed stores are now included in discontinued operations.

(2)   These costs are not consistent quarter to quarter as the Company does not open the same number of stores in each quarter of each fiscal year.  These costs are directly associated with the number of stores that have been or will be opened and are incurred prior to the grand opening of each store.

(3)   For the trailing twelve periods ended May 1, 2011 the average open weeks for the Company's five non same-stores was 39 weeks.

(4)   During fiscal year 2011, the Company made changes in its executive management team and warehouse operations.  For the trailing twelve periods ended May 1, 2011, these initiatives resulted in approximately $1.6 million reduced SG&A expenses when compared to the same prior year trailing twelve periods.  The initiatives include, but are not limited to, executive and staff reduction.

 
Duckwall-ALCO Stores, Inc.

Balance Sheets

(dollars in thousands, except share and per share amounts) 
 
  May 1,

2011
January 30,

2011
  (Unaudited)  
Assets    
Current assets:    
Cash and cash equivalents $5,720 $4,189
Receivables 7,011 6,847
Prepaid income taxes 131 168
Inventories 160,873 151,079
Prepaid expenses 3,133 3,720
Deferred income taxes 3,662 2,563
Property held for sale 884 884
Total current assets 181,414 169,450
     
Property and equipment, at cost:    
Land and land improvements 1,496 1,496
Buildings and building improvements 11,840 11,828
Furniture, fixtures and equipment 69,555 69,924
Transportation equipment 1,330 1,305
Leasehold improvements 16,545 16,449
Construction work in progress 552 350
Total property and equipment 101,318 101,352
Less accumulated depreciation and amortization 74,259 72,788
Net property and equipment 27,059 28,564
     
Property under capital leases 22,254 22,254
Less accumulated amortization 10,918 10,727
Net property under capital leases 11,336 11,527
     
Deferred income taxes — non-current 2,201 2,180
Other non-current assets 983 990
Total assets $222,993 $212,711
     
Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity    
Current liabilities:    
Current maturities of long-term debt $1,036 $1,414
Current maturities of capital lease obligations 602 703
Accounts payable 33,020 25,969
Accrued salaries and commissions 4,382 4,133
Accrued taxes other than income 4,599 4,822
Self-insurance claim reserves 4,135 4,139
Other current liabilities 3,907 4,607
Total current liabilities 51,681 45,787
     
Notes payable under revolving loan 51,655 45,282
Capital lease obligations - less current maturities 11,522 11,673
Deferred gain on leases 3,729 3,826
Other non-current liabilities 1,883 1,850
Total liabilities 120,470 108,418
     
Stockholders' equity:    
Common stock, $.0001 par value, authorized 20,000,000 shares; issued and outstanding 3,841,895 shares at May 1, 2011 and January 30, 2011 1 1
Additional paid-in capital 40,093 40,003
Retained earnings 62,429 64,289
Total stockholders' equity 102,523 104,293
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $222,993 $212,711
CONTACT: Wayne S. Peterson
         Senior Vice President - Chief Financial Officer
         785-263-3350 X164
         email: wpeterson@alcostores.com
         or
         Debbie Hagen
         Hagen and Partners
         913-642-6363
         email: dhagen@hagenandpartners.com

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