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April sales at

New York & Co.


are strong, but not strong enough to salvage the first quarter, the company said Thursday.

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The clothing seller cut earnings guidance for the April quarter, saying it now expects to earn 9 cents to 13 cents a share in the period, down from its previous guidance of 20 cents to 23 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had pegged earnings at 21 cents a share.

New York & Co. put first-quarter sales at $264 million to $269.5 million, down from its old range of $277 million to $282 million. Analysts, on average, had been calling for sales of $282.3 million.

Based on "month-to-date trends," the company expects to generate April sales of $88.5 million to $94 million, reflecting a 1% to 6% rise in same-store sales. "This positive trend represents a significant improvement vs. last month; however, is less than required to achieve the current earnings guidance range," it noted.

The stock closed at $15.07 Wednesday.