Key sales measure declines sharply for Bebe in 2Q

Slow foot traffic at Bebe Stores causes key sales metric to plunge 10.5 pct in fiscal 2Q

Associated Press

BRISBANE, Calif. (AP) -- Bebe Stores Inc.'s revenue from stores open at least a year fell 10.5 percent in the three months ended Dec. 29, the women's apparel retailer said Thursday.

The company, based in Brisbane, Calif., said its net loss in the fiscal second quarter will be deeper than it had previously estimated.

Sales from stores open at least a year is considered a key indicator of financial performance. It measures results at established stores while stripping away the impact of recently opened or closed locations.

Bebe's total sales for the quarter were $124.6 million, down 11.7 percent from the $141.1 million that the chain generated in late 2011.

The sales decline was a result of weak foot traffic to stores open at least a year, Bebe said. Traffic fell 15 percent compared with the same quarter a year earlier, it said, causing inventory per square foot at its stores to leap 27.5 compared with late 2011.

Bebe said this year's performance was marred by the impact of Superstorm Sandy, the shifting of New Year's Eve into fiscal January and a strategy of selling higher-cost items. Last year, sales at stores open for at least a year rose 9.6 percent in the fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31, 2011.

The company now estimates that its net loss for the quarter will be "at or below the lower end of (its) previously provided guidance." Bebe had said previously that it expected results to fall between net income of 3 cents per share and a net loss of 1 cent per share, before including one-time items such as store impairment, write-off charges and potential settlement costs.

On average, analysts polled by FactSet expect a net loss of 3 cents after accounting for those items. Bebe is set to announce its fiscal second quarter earnings on Feb. 7.

Bebe operates 250 stores totaling about 1 million square feet of retail space. Its shares rose a penny to $4.01 in early trading Thursday.

View Comments (1)