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Quiksilver slips on gloomy back-to-school outlook

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock in Quiksilver Inc. fell Monday after a B. Riley & Co. analyst cut his rating on the clothing retailer saying that a weak back-to-school shopping season could cut into sales and profits.

THE SPARK: Analyst Jeff Van Sinderen lowered his rating on the purveyor of skateboarding- and surfing-inspired clothes to "neutral" from "buy."

THE BIG PICTURE: Quiksilver owns and licenses stores and also sells its clothing and shoes through department stores, skate shops and online. About 60 percent of its revenue comes from outside the U.S. The Huntington Beach, Calif., company competes against other stores that target teens and young adults such as Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch, and against specialty retailers such as Nike, Vans and Reebok.

THE ANALYSIS: In a note to clients, Van Sinderen said that the weak environment for apparel could put a damper on the overall quality of sales and any near-term improvement in gross margins. "After fairly aggressive clearance activity in July, our channel checks indicate that there is still plenty of (Quiksilver) product on promo/discount and the product that is at full price faces fierce competition from other brands/retailers that are promoting their (back-to-school) merchandise. It appears that (back-to-school) is shaping up to be an intense battle for market share, driven more by price, than by compelling, differentiated merchandise content."

THE SHARES: Quiksilver's stock fell 14 cents, or 2.4 percent, to close Monday at $5.69. The shares had traded as low as $5.51 earlier in the session.