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Bebe lowers 3Q forecast on weather, holiday

Bebe lowers its fiscal 3rd-quarter forecast due as weather, closures, holiday hurt sales

Associated Press

BRISBANE, Calif. (AP) -- Bebe Stores Inc. lowered its third-quarter profit forecast on Tuesday, saying that store closures, extreme weather and holiday timing took a toll on its sales.

The announcement sent its shares down 9 percent to $5.85 by early afternoon.

The clothing company said that its total revenue for the quarter that ended April 5 fell 17 percent to $93 million from $113 million last year. Analysts polled by FactSet were anticipating revenue of $104.3 million.

Bebe said that its revenue from stores open at least a year fell 5.7 percent; the company was anticipating this measure to be flat for the period. This is considered a key indicator of a retailer's financial performance as it strips away the impact of recently opened and closed sites.

The retailer said that the sales decline was due to one less selling week this year and the closure of 19 unproductive stores. It was also hurt by extreme winter weather that led to 136 weather-related temporary store closures. The company also said that Easter falling in late April had a bigger negative impact on its sales for the quarter.

Bebe noted that its margins were lower than anticipated due to increased use of promotions.

As a result, the company is anticipating a loss of 29 to 32 cents per share for the third quarter, including impairment charges of up to 4 cents per share. It had previously forecast a loss per share in the mid-teens range for the quarter. Analysts forecast a quarterly loss of 17 cents per share.

Bebe one of several retailers to report that extreme winter weather and an intensely promotional environment cut into its recent profits.

The company, based in Brisbane, Calif., is scheduled to report its actual quarterly results on May 8.

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