AP News

Alco Stores August revenue figure falls

ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — Discount retailer Alco Stores Inc. said Thursday that revenue in stores open at least one year fell 4.3 percent, hurt by drought in the Midwest.

The measure is a key gauge of a retailer's health, because it strips out the effect of stores that opened or closed in the past year.

The company, formerly known as Duckwall-Alco before changing its name in July, said total revenue for the four-weeks ended Aug. 26 edged down 0.9 percent to $32.2 million.

All figures exclude fuel sales.

Year-to-date, revenue in stores open at least on year fell 0.8 percent and total revenue rose 2 percent to $266.2 million.

CEO Rich Wilson said a drought in the Midwest hurt results at the majority of its stores as consumers in rural areas — a big part of their customer base — slowed down their spending. Also, back-to-school shopping started later due to later school openings.

The company also spent less on advertising and promotions in August to focus on the fourth quarter and holiday season.

Alco plans to offer more frozen foods to its grocery business starting in October and expects that to drive traffic and basket size.

Shares added 69 cents, or 10.3 percent, to $7.35 in morning trading. The stock ended Wednesday's session down 20 percent since the beginning of the year.

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