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SAN DIEGO-With Rampage stores now sold, converted or returned to their landlords, Charlotte Russe is focusing on a store expansion program that will take it to more than 600 stores in coming years, executives said at its fourth quarter conference call recently.The company plans to add at least 50 new Charlotte Russe stores in 2007. An additional 25 locations will be renovated in the coming year. The chain has a wish list of 350 locations for new stores.

“We always maintained a wish list we share with our landlord partners,” says Mark Hoffman, CEO. “We continue to update that list. There is a significant pool we can fish in.” As of Sept. 30, the company operated 387 stores in 43 states and Puerto Rico. New units likely would be located in major regional malls, with streetfront stores incremental to growth, Hoffman says.

The chain’s internet selling also is likely to increase in the coming year, he adds. Net sales for the fourth quarter increased 21.9% to $188.6 million more than the previous year. Comparable-store sales at the Charlotte Russe stores increased 7.4% during the quarter. Fiscal 2006 sales increased 33.3% to $681.5 million from $511.3 million for last year.

Fiscal 2006 is a 53-week year, compared with 52 weeks for 2005. Excluding the extra week, net sales during fiscal 2006 rose 31.1% over last year. Comparable store sales at the Charlotte Russe stores increased 15.3% during fiscal 2006.

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