bebe stores Sees Earnings at or Below Estimates

bebe stores ( BEBE) said lower-than-expected August and September same-store sales will cause first-quarter earnings to be at or below the First Call/Thomson Financial consensus. The company cited overall poor sales performance due in part to 20% lower inventory levels.

Based on sales to date, bebe expects August same-store sales to be in the negative high-to-mid teens and September same-store sales to be in the negative mid-to-high single digits. The company had previously forecast a rise in the low single digits.

Earnings per share for the first quarter will be from 22 cents to 25 cents a share, the company said. Analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial expect bebe's first-quarter earnings to be 25 cents a share.

In its last quarter, the company earned 15 cents a share, up from 22 cents a share from the year-ago period.

Separately, the company said a new vice president of manufacturing, Jamel Bennoui, will start Sept. 16. Most recently, Bennoui was a director of production and sourcing for Victoria's Secret.

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