"We are encouraged by the progress we've made to drivesustainable long-term growth for this company," says Perry D. Odak,president and CEO. "Despite a continuing soft economy and internalinitiatives that have had a short-term adverse impact on ourresults, but are intended to build a foundation for growth, we wereable to drive significant profitability gains and we have begun tosee gradual improvement in our sales results," he says.

Net sales in the second quarter were $242.2 million, up 2.6%compared with $236.2 million in the second quarter of 2002. Thesales gain was driven by the addition of three new stores to thecompany's portfolio in the first quarter, which more than offsetthe sale or closure of four stores year-over-year.

Sales in the second quarter were also boosted by the shift ofthe Easter holiday into the second quarter of 2003, which had a 25basis point positive impact on comparable store sales. However,continued road construction near five of the company's stores inthe quarter nearly offset this gain with a 20 basis point negativeimpact to same-store sales.

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