Comps Up, Big Dogs Winds Down at Walking Co.

NEW YORK — Due largely to costs incurred in the restructuring and close-out of its Big Dogs chain – including payments to landlords and employee severance – The Walking Co. announced Thursday that it will not have a profit this year.

In line with its long-term restructuring plan, the company had reduced the number of its Big Dogs stores from 231 to 140 by the end of 2007. While 71 stores are currently open, all but six to eight will gradually close by the end of 2009, the company said in a Thursday statement. Thanks to a liquidation plan that was put into place at the end of May, the Big Dogs chain has seen same-store sales increases in excess of 10 percent compared with a 10 percent decline in same-store sales before the company began promoting an inventory liquidation.

Regarding The Walking Co. stores, comp store sales increased approximately 2 percent during the third quarter, the firm said.

“Despite the difficult retail environment, we were pleased to produce solid comparative store sales increases over the summer,” said CEO Andrew Feshbach in the statement. “It is our expectation that our current positive sales trend will continue in the next quarter.”

The company announced plans to open three Walking Co. stores this year, which would bring the total store count to 210.

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