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) -- Regional department stores are slowly rebounding and are forecasting continued improvement for the remainder of the year.

Stein Mart

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, for one, posted a surprise profit in the third quarter, as it significantly cut costs, sending shares soaring in morning trading.

During the quarter, the department store earned $3.2 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with a loss of $14.1 million, or 34 cents, in the year-ago period. Analysts expected the company to lose 7 cents a share.

Revenue fell nearly 10% to $270.7 million, while same-store sales sank 6.2%.

Selling, general and administrative costs tumbled 22% to $73.3 million, as Stein Mart cut jobs and salaries and closed stores.

The company also attributed some of the gains to a change in its tax accounting method.

Shares are climbing 9.8% to $11.22 in morning trading.

Stage Stores

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, meanwhile, narrowed its third-quarter loss and upped its outlook, but shares are still falling.

The company recorded a loss of $7.3 million, or 19 cents a share, compared to a loss of $102.8 million, or $2.66 a share, in the same period last year. Analysts expected a loss of 22 cents.

Sales fell 3% to $324.9 million, while same-store sales

Stage Stores raised its fourth-quarter earnings to 56 cents to 66 cents a share, from a prior forecast of 54 cents to 65 cents, as it now sees comparable sales decreasing between 4% to 7%. It previously said same-store sales would fall between 5% and 8%.

For the full year management now predicts earnings between 59 cents to 69 cents a share, compared to previous outlook of 47 cents to 65 cents a share.

Shares are off 3.7% to $11.88 in morning trading.



also shrunk its third-quarter loss to $4.2 million, or 24 cents per share, compared with a loss of $14.3 million, or 85 cents, a year earlier.

Bon-Ton sales dropped nearly 3% to $703.9 million compared with $724.9 million last year, while same-store sales rose 3.1%.

The company also narrowed its loss for the year to $1.20 and $2.30 a share, from a prior forecast of a loss of $2.50 to $3.70 per share.

Bon-Ton is gaining 6.9% to $11.46 in morning trading.

On Wednesday,


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also swung to a profit, despite a 10% drop in sales.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York

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