THE VINDICATOR, YOUNGSTOWN
YOUNGSTOWN -- Phar-Mor lost $3.6 million in the first three months of this year.
It was the fourth time in the past five quarters that the Youngstown-based drugstore chain has lost money.
The loss, which amounted to 34 cents a share, compared with a loss of $1.8 million, or 17 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. The loss last quarter came even though Phar-Mor reported a one-time gain of $2.6 million from the early debt payment.
Sales were $308.6 million last quarter, compared with $300.2 million in the same quarter a year ago. At stores open at least a year, sales declined by nearly 3 percent, however.
Explanation: Phar-Mor said it attributes the sales decline to higher gas prices, a declining economy and weak retail environment.
David Schwartz, Phar-Mor president and chief operating officer, said, however, that some of the company's recent initiatives are showing positive results.
Phar-Mor had $20 million less in inventory at the end of the quarter, which is the third quarter of the company's fiscal year. Schwartz attributed that to the roll out of Phar-Mor's new computer system, which better tracks what is sold.
Corporate wages were $355,000 less than a year ago after the elimination of 38 positions in January, and interest expenses were $615,000 less after paying off $40 million in debt over the past five months.
Phar-Mor operates 139 stores in 24 states.