Net sales at action sports retailer West 49 fell 0.3% to $36.0m for the five weeks to 29 December, compared to $36.1m for the same period a year ago.

For the five week period, the company's same-store sales decreased 5.4% on a consolidated basis and fell 3.9% at its core West 49 banner.

The company said that same-store sales were negatively impacted by cross border shopping, which it blamed on the strong appreciation in the Canadian dollar compared to the same period the year before.

Excluding Ontario, the West 49 banner posted same-store sales growth of 3.3% compared to the holiday selling season the year before, it added.

"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, CEO of West 49.

"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."

For the fourth quarter-to-date, or the nine-week period ended 29 December 2007, sales increased 0.2% to $51.8m from $51.7m for the same period last year.

Quarter-to-date consolidated same-store sales declined 5.1% compared to the year before, with the West 49 banner's same-store sales declining by 2.1%.

Excluding Ontario, the West 49 banner posted same-store sales growth of 3.7% compared to the same nine week period a year earlier.