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Aeropostale issues weak forecast, shares fall

NEW YORK (AP) -- Aeropostale Inc.'s shares dropped in after-hours trading Wednesday, after the teen retailer reported that its third-quarter profit was nearly flat and it issued a weak forecast.

The company has struggled with poor back-to-school sales, tough competition and the uncertain economy.

Aeropostale earned $24.9 million, or 31 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Oct. 27. That compares with $24.1 million, or 30 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue increased 2 percent to $605.9 million, as stronger sales of men's and accessories items offset slow sales of core basics women's products.

Analysts expected the company to earn 29 cents per share on revenue of $601.2 million, according to FactSet.

Sales at stores open at least a year fell 2 percent, compared with a 9 percent decrease last year. That is a key indicator of financial performance for retailers as it strips away the impact of recently opened or closed stores.

The retailer said the first few weeks of November were challenging, but Black Friday weekend was encouraging.

Aeropostale expects to make 36 to 41 cents per share, excluding one-time items, in the fourth quarter. Analysts expected the company to earn 54 cents per share.

Shares fell $1.02, or 7.2 percent, to $13.10 in after-hours trading. The stock has lost nearly 40 percent of its value since this spring.