BRISBANE, Calif. (AP) ¿ Bebe Stores Inc. said Thursday same-store sales tumbled 23.5 percent for the fiscal third quarter as consumers held off on buying the specialty apparel retailer's merchandise.

Same-store sales are considered a key measurement of retailer health because they compare results at older stores and exclude newly opened locations.

Bebe, which makes women's sportswear line Bebe Sport, said total retail sales for the third quarter ended April 4 fell 17 percent to $122 million, from $147.5 million last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast $123.1 million in sales.

For the year-to-date period, same-store sales dropped 18.2 percent, while total retail sales fell 10 percent to $455.6 million, from $507.9 million last year.

Brisbane, Calif.-based Bebe Stores noted that its average finished-goods inventory per square foot was about 17.6 percent lower as of April 4 than it was a year ago.

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