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posted a narrower-than-expected second-quarter loss, as the company added 223,000 new customers during the period.

The Los Angeles-based online toy retailer reported a loss of $41.8 million, or 33 cents a share, compared with $32.1 million, or 27 cents a share, last year. The figures exclude noncash charges for deferred compensation, goodwill amortization and noncash charges attributable to preferred stock. Ten analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

expected a loss of 35 cents a share in the latest second quarter.

Sales for the quarter rose to $26 million from $13.3 million in the year-ago period.

eToys also expects its quarterly loss to narrow year over year for the first time next quarter and to continue narrowing year over year for all subsequent quarters until the company breaks even in fiscal 2002. Analysts on average expect the company to post a loss of 43 cents a share in the third quarter, a loss of $1.45 in fiscal 2001 and a loss of $1.22 in 2002.