Stage Stores 1Q loss widens on charge

Stage Stores 1Q loss widens on charge; unseasonably cool weather pressures sales

Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) -- Stage Stores' first-quarter loss widened as it spent to consolidate some facilities and, like other retailers, struggled to get shoppers out of the house and through their doors in some nasty spring weather.

The department store operator lost $6.9 million, or 21 cents per share, for the period ended May 4. That compares with a loss of $418,000, or a penny per share, a year earlier.

Excluding charges related to consolidation at the company South Hill buying office in Virginia, which amounted to 19 cents per share, Stage Stores Inc. lost 2 cents per share compared with a loss of 5 cents per share in the prior-year period.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a profit of 9 cents per share.

Selling, general and administrative expenses climbed to $99.6 million from $92.7 million.

Revenue rose 4 percent to $378.6 million from $365.7 million. Wall Street was looking for higher revenue of $388.9 million.

Revenue at comparable stores edged up 0.7 percent.

Stage Stores said Friday that the strongest categories were accessories and home and gifts, while the Southwest was the best performing region.

"The unseasonably cool weather in March and April, particularly when compared to last year's warm spring, strongly impacted our sales performance," President and CEO Michael Glazer said.

The Houston company still expects full-year adjusted earnings of $1.45 to $1.55 per share. Stage Stores foresees revenue in a range of $1.7 billion to $1.73 billion. Revenue at stores open at least a year is still expected to climb 2 percent to 4 percent.

Analysts predict full-year earnings of $1.53 per share on revenue of $1.72 billion.

Stage Stores, which said last month that it is raising its quarterly dividend by 25 percent, currently runs 872 stores in 40 states.

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