BRISBANE, Calif. (AP) ¿ Bebe Stores Inc. on Thursday said it posted a loss in its fiscal third-quarter on a continuing decline in sales. The retailer lost $5 million, or 6 cents a share, for the quarter ended April 4. That compares with earnings of $8.3 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier. The current year's third-quarter earnings includes 2 cent per share for impairment charges and fixed asset write-offs for underperforming stores and store closures. Sales declined 15.8 percent to $127.7 million from $151.7 million last year. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least one year, dropped 23.5 percent in the quarter. Same-store sales are considered a key measurement of retailer health because they compare results at older stores and exclude newly opened locations. Analysts expected a loss of 8 cents per share on revenue of $123.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters. Analysts typically exclude one-time items from their estimates. Gross margin as a percentage of sales decreased to 37.8 percent from 43.8 percent in the year-earlier quarter from higher markdowns. The company forecast earnings per share ranging from 2 cents to 10 cents in the fourth quarter, compared to earnings of 18 cents a share in the same period last year. Bebe said it expects same-store sales percentage drop in the mid-teens to low-twenties. Analysts expect earnings per share of 3 cents, according to Thomson Reuters. Bebe shares fell 29 cents, or 3.4 percent, to close at $8.27 on Thursday.
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