Net earnings from continuing operations for the year-to-date period ended March 31, 2012 were $8.7 million compared to a net loss of $0.7 million in the prior year. The increase in earnings was the result of sales growth and expansion in gross margin, partially offset by increases in compensation and advertising expenses as we continue to fuel our future growth. Earnings per share from continuing operations for the year-to-date period ended March 31, 2012 was $0.10 per share on 84.4 million diluted shares outstanding, compared to net loss per share of $0.01 per share on 84.4 million diluted shares outstanding in the prior year.
Net loss from discontinued operations for the prior year-to-date period ended April 2, 2011 was $5.8 million, or $0.07 per share, on 84.4 million diluted shares outstanding.
During the quarter ended March 31, 2012, the Company opened 2 bebe stores and converted 1 bebe store into a 2b store, and closed 7 bebe stores. For the remainder of fiscal year 2012, we anticipate opening 3 2b stores, and closing 2 bebe stores, which will result in no change to total store square footage. In addition, our international licensees are anticipated to add up to 5 points-of–sale for the remainder of the year.
For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, the Company currently anticipates comparable store sales growth in the low-single digit range, as we are comparing to the strong performance of last year’s fiscal fourth quarter. Depending on actual sales and markdowns, the net income from continuing operations is expected to be in the range of $0.02 - $0.04 per share, compared to $0.06 per share in the prior year. The prior year was positively affected by improved comparable store sales, significant improvement in merchandise margin, and leverage on SG&A. Given the growth strategies the Company put in place, our SG&A for the current year assumes higher compensation, advertising and other expenses, including certain one-time costs relating to the planned transition of bebe.com to a company managed platform.