ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Although retail store sales increased 1.1% for the first quarter of 1997, Carr Gottstein here reported a 0.9% decrease in total consolidated sales, primarily due to reduced wholesale and freight sales.
The better net results were attributed to improvements in gross margin coupled with a reduction in interest expenses due to lower average debt balances in the quarter, compared with the previous year. Carr Gottstein said it reduced debt balances by $3.5 million since the end of 1996.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $9.7 million, or 6.8% of sales in the first quarter of 1997, compared with $9.0 million, or 6.3% of sales, for the same period in 1996. The company said the increase in EBITDA was due to increases in gross margin combined with effective expense control.
The company also said it has reached an agreement to acquire a Girdwood, Alaska food store, Crow Creek Mercantile, and convert it to an Eagle Quality Center.