OAKLAND, Calif.–Cost Plus registered a first-quarter net loss of $3.4 million, down from the $10.3 million net loss reported in last year’s first quarter.
A net sales increase of 5.9 percent, which brought first-quarter net sales to $199.7 million, helped thin out the specialty retailer’s red ink. The sales gain included a healthy 5.5 percent rise in same-store sales.
Cost Plus also boosted its gross margin by 120 basis points to 31.7 percent, thanks to lower occupancy expenses and improved merchandise margins. Selling, general and administrative expenses edge up 1.9 percent in dollars but were down 120 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 31.6 percent. The company also posted a reduction of 88 percent in store closure costs.
Barry Feld, president and CEO, said, “We continue to drive increases in traffic, conversion, and units per transaction while improving our gross margin and significantly reducing losses.