Net sales for the 13-week period decreased 0.7% to $115.5 million from sales of $116.3 million in the year earlier period. Comparable store sales for the quarter decreased 3.4% when compared to the 13-week period for the prior year. At quarter end we were operating 207 total stores. During the quarter we opened one new superstore and closed two Booklands. Gross margin as a percent of sales was 29.3% compared to 29.0% last year. The increase as a percent of sales was partially due to lower discounts and markdowns versus last year. Operating expenses as a percent of sales increased to 24.6% for the quarter from 23.2% in fiscal 2008. The increase as a percent of tax is primarily due to a one-time charge of $406,000 ($241,000 net of taxes) for severance related to staff reduction at the company’s headquarters. Depreciation expense increased $114,000 to $3.5 million from $3.3 million.
Shares in BAM trade around $8 close to its 12mth low and the company has a market cap of $126mm. Their 52 week high is $20.70. There are 16mm shares outstanding and in recent months insiders have purchased 2.5mm shares (16%). Primary among this group are CEO Cochran and Chairman Anderson.