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Duckwall-ALCO Stores Reports Operating Results for First Thirteen Weeks of Fiscal 2012

/ Source: GlobeNewswire

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, .

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 .

The Duckwall-ALCO Stores, Inc. logo is available at

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.

(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.

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