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CANTON, MA-Same-store sales fell 0.2% year over year during Casual Male Retail Group’s fourth quarter, while total sales fell 7.5%, to $133.9 million. “The men’s apparel business was at the forefront of the slowdown,” said David Levin, the plus-sized retailer’s president and chief executive officer, during a fourth-quarter conference call, pointing out that men cut back before other apparel shoppers during an economic downturn.

One of the things management plans to do this year to fight lower sales is decreasing capital expenditures by 50% from last year, to between $11 million and $12 million. The company’s total store count is expected to stay flat at 488 units, made up of 462 Casual Male XL retail and outlet stores and 26 Rochester Big & Tall stores.

For the coming year, management predicts that same-store sales will come in between a drop of 2% and flat from 2007. Earnings per share are forecast to hit from 25 cents to 30 cents, up from 1 cent last year.

Casual Male Group also plans to launch an e-commerce site in Europe this year. Management said that its London Rochester location is the second-most productive in the entire chain.

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