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bebe stores, inc. (NASDAQ:BEBE) today announced unaudited financial results for the third quarter ended March 31, 2012. In the second fiscal quarter of the prior year, the Company closed its remaining 25 PH8 stores, with the entire PH8 division results being presented as discontinued operations for all periods herein.
Net sales from continuing operations for the third quarter of fiscal 2012 were $121.0 million, up 10.5% from $109.5 million reported for the third quarter a year ago. As previously reported, comparable store sales for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 increased 7.2% compared to a decrease of 0.8% in the prior year.
Gross margin from continuing operations as a percentage of net sales increased to 38.7% in the third quarter of fiscal 2012, compared to 36.8% in the third quarter of fiscal 2011. The increase in gross margin as a percentage of net sales from the prior year of 1.9% was primarily due to positive occupancy leverage and an increase in merchandise margin.
SG&A expenses from continuing operations for the third quarter of fiscal 2012 were $47.2 million, or 39.0% of net sales, compared to $45.0 million, or 41.1% of net sales for the same period of the prior year. The dollar increase over the prior year was primarily due to higher compensation expenses.
Income tax expense for the third quarter of fiscal 2012 was $65,000. The tax expense for the current year was unfavorably affected by discrete items incurred during the quarter.
Net loss from continuing operations of $0.2 million, or $0.00 per share, on 84.3 million diluted shares outstanding compared to a net loss of $2.6 million, or $0.03 per share, on 84.1 million diluted shares outstanding for the same period of the prior year.
Net sales from continuing operations for the year-to-date period ended March 31, 2012 were $399.3 million, up 10.6% from $361.0 million for the year-to-date period ended April 2, 2011. Comparable store sales for the year-to-date period ended March 31, 2012 increased 8.1% compared to a decrease of 1.7% in the prior year.