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Book retailer

Borders Group


will post a first-quarter loss due to lower-than-anticipated sales in all its business segments. The company cited the impact of the war.

Additionally, the first quarter's shortfall will impact full-year earnings, the company said.

Borders did not provide specific first-quarter guidance but had previously forecast a break-even quarter, and that's what the consensus estimate called for. Borders earned 5 cents a share in the first quarter of 2003.

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"Traffic and sales have slowed as the nation focuses on the ongoing Iraq conflict," said Greg Josefowicz, chief executive of Borders.

The company said comparable store sales at Borders have declined in the mid single digits quarter-to-date, while Waldenbooks comparable store sales have declined in the low double digits.

Looking to 2004, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company had previously estimated EPS of $1.50 to $1.60; analysts forecast $1.52 a share The company said it will provide an update when it releases first-quarter results on May 20.

Shares of the company closed at $14.70 Wednesday on the

New York Stock Exchange