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Five Below says Sandy hurt 4Q; outlook is short

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Five Below Inc. said that Superstorm Sandy hurt sales at the beginning of its fiscal fourth quarter, and the retailer's outlook for the period fell short of Wall Street's prediction.

Based in Philadelphia, the company sells games, candy and other merchandise for $5 or less. Its 243 stores market to teens and children, with a significant presence on the East Coast.

Five Below expects profit of 35 to 37 cents per share, excluding one-time items, on revenue of $167 million to $170 million in the quarter. The period runs from the last few days of October, when Sandy struck the East Coast, through January, encompassing the critical holiday shopping season.

Analysts polled by FactSet had predicted earnings of 39 cents per share on $171.7 million in revenue.

For the quarter that ended on Oct. 27, Five Below posted net income of $710,000, or 1 cent per share, compared with a loss of $3.5 million, or 22 cents per share, in the fiscal third quarter last year.

Excluding one-time items, profit came to 3 cents per share, topping analysts' prediction of 1 cent per share.

Revenue rose 40 percent to $86.6 million from $61.9 million, as revenue at stores open at least a year jumped 8.8 percent. The metric is a key measure of a retailer's health, because it excludes revenue from stores that recently opened or closed. Five Below also opened 17 new stores during the quarter.

Analysts expected $83.7 million in revenue.