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Toys "R" Us


said Monday that its second-quarter loss narrowed from last year, even as same-store sales in its shops posted a decline.

The toy seller lost $11 million, or 5 cents a share, in the second quarter, compared with a loss of $17 million, or 8 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding certain items, the company would have lost $5 million, or 2 cents a share, in the 2003 quarter. Analysts were expecting a loss of 5 cents a share.

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Sales totaled $2.14 billion, an increase of 3.3% from last year's $2.07 billion. Excluding the impact of currency translation, however, total sales rose 0.6% for the second quarter.

In the U.S. toy store division, same-store sales fell 2.4%, and operating earnings dropped to $10 million from $24 million last year. The company's Babies "R" Us business posted a 13% increase in total sales, 4.2% growth in comparable sales and a 24% gain in operating earnings.

Shares of Toys "R" Us, based in Wayne, N.J., were slipping 5 cents to $11.83 in recent

New York Stock Exchange