CLIFTON, NJ-With its turnaround strategies just beginning to take effect, Linens ‘n Things will slow its store openings in 2007, executives said at its fourth quarter conference call.

The chain plans to open approximately 20 stores this year, compared with 31 new units in 2006. However, the company has no plans to close units this year after closing two in 2006.

“We continue to work with a long-term plan,” said Robert DiNicola, chairman and CEO. “The business was not broken overnight, and it won’t be fixed overnight.”

The company reported total net sales of $956.8 million for the fourth quarter, a 3.9% increase over the same quarter in 2005. Comparable store sales dropped 0.2%, though comps rose 3.4% for the November/December holiday period. The chain posted a net loss of $22.5 million for the quarter, compared with net earnings of $45.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The chain has focused on improving the merchandise mix and using promotions to generate traffic, sacrificing earnings in the short term to keep customers coming to the stores, said Francis M. Rowan, CFO.

Net sales for the 52 weeks ended December 30, 2006, were $2.82 billion, up 4.6% from the previous year. Comparable store sales decreased 0.7%. The chain reported a loss of $154.4 million, compared with net income of 36.0 million for the previous year.

At year-end, Linens ‘n Things operated 571 stores in 47 states and six provinces across the United States and Canada.

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