Earnings Slide at Bebe Stores - TheStreet

Earnings Slide at Bebe Stores

The company also cautions that fiscal first-quarter earnings might fall short of estimates.
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Bebe Stores

(BEBE)

reported Wednesday that fourth-quarter net earnings sank 17.5%, and the company said its profit in the current quarter might fall short of expectations.

The women's clothing retailer said that earnings totaled $3.25 million, or 13 cents a share, for the quarter, down from $3.96 million, or 15 cents a share, for the same quarter last year. The drop in earnings was in-line with Wall Street expectations, as analysts were forecasting an average of 12 cents a share, according to Thomson First Call.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2004, now underway, Bebe predicted earnings per share of 18 cents to 21 cents, while First Call estimates stand at 21 cents a share.

In the fourth quarter, net sales were $80.1 million, up 9% from last year's $73.5 million, but profit as a percentage of net sales decreased in the quarter due to raw-material write-offs. Operating expenses increased by 10% to $28.8 million because of higher compensation, depreciation, and store-closure expenses and reserves.

Shares of Bebe were falling 41 cents, or 1.8%, to $21.93 in

Nasdaq

trading.