Fresno-Calif-based department store Gottschalks Inc. said same-store sales for the month of February fell 9.5% from the prior year. Total sales for the month decreased 11.5% to $37.7 million compared to $42.6 million in the same period of fiscal 2007.


The company operated one less store for the first month of the fiscal year compared to the same period in fiscal 2007.


“Our February sales results reflect persistent weak economic conditions as well as our planned reduction in inventory levels,” said Jim Famalette, chairman and chief executive officer of Gottschalks. “During the month, we focused on clearing through winter merchandise and transitioning into our new spring product assortment. We continue to prudently manage our inventory levels and ended the month with 4.6% less comparable inventory than the same period last year.


“We believe we are better positioned both in the quality of our assortments as well as our inventory levels as we enter March. We continue to implement our key strategic initiatives that are designed to improve our business and contribute to the long-term growth of Gottschalks.”