West 49 Inc. reports Holiday sales

    Toronto Stock Exchange Symbol: WXX

    BURLINGTON, ON, Jan. 11 /CNW/ - West 49 Inc. (TSX: WXX) (the "Company"),
Canada's leading action sport retailer, today reported sales results for its
fiscal 2008 Holiday selling season. Net sales for the five week period ended
December 29, 2007 decreased 0.3% to $36.0 million compared to $36.1 million
for the corresponding period a year ago.
    For the five week period, the Company's comparable store sales decreased
5.4% on a consolidated basis and decreased 3.9% at its core West 49 banner
when compared to the Holiday selling season in the prior year. Comparable
store sales were negatively impacted by cross border shopping attributable to
the strong appreciation in the Canadian dollar compared to the same period the
year before. Excluding Ontario, the West 49 banner posted comparable store
sales growth of 3.3% compared to the Holiday selling season the year before.
For reference purposes, the Company achieved exceptionally strong comparable
stores sales increases of 9.4% on a consolidated basis and 12.4% for the
West 49 banner for the Holiday selling season the prior year.
    "As anticipated, cross border shopping and an especially challenging
retail environment in Ontario continue to impact our top line in the fourth
quarter," said Sam Baio, Chief Executive Officer of West 49 Inc. "We are
taking decisive actions to strengthen our business and adjust to the current
environment in which we operate. We are working with our suppliers to ensure
our costs more accurately reflect the stronger Canadian dollar. In fact, our
merchandise purchases for the coming spring and summer seasons will benefit
from the higher Canadian dollar. We remain confident that our strategy to
relocate and expand many of our older West 49 stores in Ontario will improve
their sales performance and help grow our market share."
    Mr. Baio continued: "We also continue to be challenged at Off The Wall as
we transition the banner to its new merchandising strategy. While this
transition has negatively impacted our top line, we are confident that when
completed Off The Wall will bolster our consolidated comparable store sales."
    For the fourth quarter-to-date, or the nine week period ended
December 29, 2007, sales increased 0.2% to $51.8 million from $51.7 million
for the same period last year. Quarter-to-date consolidated comparable store
sales declined 5.1% compared to the year before, with the West 49 banner's
comparable store sales declining by 2.1%. Excluding Ontario, the West 49
banner posted comparable store sales growth of 3.7% compared to the same nine
week period a year earlier. For reference purposes, the Company achieved
comparable stores sales increases of 9.4% on a consolidated basis and 11.0%
for the West 49 banner for the corresponding nine week period a year ago.

    About West 49 Inc.

    West 49 Inc. is a leading Canadian multi-banner specialty retailer of
apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment related to skateboarding,
snowboarding, surfing, BMX, motocross, and the music industry. The Company's
stores, which are primarily mall-based, carry a variety of high-performance,
premium brand name and private label products that fulfill the lifestyle needs
of identified target markets, primarily tweens and teens (ages 10 through 18).
As at December 29, 2007, the Company operated 134 stores in nine provinces,
under the banners West 49, Billabong, Off The Wall, Amnesia/Arsenic, D-Tox,
and Duke's Northshore, and an online retailer www.boardzone.com. The Company's
common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WXX.
The Company has approximately 64 million shares outstanding.

    Forward-looking statements

    Information in this news release that is not current or historical
factual information may constitute forward-looking information. Implicit in
this information are assumptions that, although considered reasonable by the
Company at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect. Readers are
cautioned that forward-looking information involves known and unknown risks,
uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or
achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance
or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information.
Accordingly, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking
information. The Company includes in publicly available documents filed from
time to time with securities commissions and the Toronto Stock Exchange, a
thorough discussion of the risk factors that can cause anticipated outcomes to
differ from actual outcomes. Forward-looking information is provided as of the
date of this news release, and the Company assumes no obligation to update or
revise them to reflect new events or circumstances.

For further information:

For further information: Rhonda Allen, Director, Finance, West 49 Inc.,
(905) 336-5454 ext. 224, E-mail: ir@west49.com; Trevor Heisler, Investor
Relations, The Equicom Group Inc., (416) 815-0700 ext. 270, E-mail:

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