Gottschalks same-store sales down 2.1% in July

Fresno-based Gottschalks Inc. reported Thursday that its same-store sales fell 2.1% in July compared with the same month in 2007, but also noted that the month's sales showed an improvement over previous months this year.

Total sales for July were $39.4 million, down 4.1% from $41.1 million in the same month last year, the company reported.

Second quarter 2008 same-store sales fell 7.3% and total sales for the quarter fell to $133.7 million, down 7.8% from the second quarter of 2007.

Gottschalks operated one less store in 2008 compared with the same period last year.

Year-to-date sales in 2008 were $258.8 million, down 9.8% from the comparable period in 2007, the company reported.

"We experienced improved sales in July compared to recent months, as we continue to prudently manage our business during this difficult retail environment," Jim Famalette, Gottschalks chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

While July did see sales slip compared to the same month last year, that decline wasn't as steep as has been reported for previous months of 2008, such as June, which saw a 9.5% same-store sales decline compared with the same month last year.

Famalette said Gottschalks is pleased so far with its marketing campaign to lure shoppers into stores for the back-to-school selling season now under way.