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Guess Reports Loss Amid Flat Sales

March 09, 2001|From Bloomberg News

Guess Inc. said Thursday it had a fourth-quarter loss as slowed growth in its retail and wholesale businesses limited sales, and as the Los Angeles-based apparel maker and retailer wrote down excess inventory.

The firm also said February same-store sales were sharply lower.

Guess had a loss of $13.1 million, or 30 cents a share in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with net income of $19.2 million, or 44 cents, a year earlier. Guess said in January that it would lose 27 cents to 31 cents in the quarter, including one-time charges.

Sales in the quarter were little changed at $196.3 million, President Carlos Alberini said.

Guess' stock has fallen 66% since Sept. 25, when the firm lowered its third-quarter profit forecast and said fourth-quarter results also might miss estimates. Guess ordered too much merchandise last year after record sales in 1999.

Slower consumer spending in the second half of 2000 forced the company to slash prices to clear the excess goods, analysts said.

Sales remained troubled in February: The company said same-store sales fell 16.1% from a year earlier.

Guess also restated earnings for the first three quarters of 2000. It said in January it had to restate earnings, partly because it failed to properly account for some inventory when it moved a warehouse to Louisville, Ky., from Los Angeles.

The company's shares fell 6 cents to $6.80 on the New York Stock Exchange. The reports were issued after the close.

At a Glance

Other Southern California company earnings, excluding one-time gains and charges unless noted:

* Fremont General Corp., a Santa Monica-based state workers' compensation insurer, said its fourth-quarter pretax operating loss totaled $298 million because of a restructuring of its workers' comp business. The latest pretax loss compared with a pretax loss of $75 million a year earlier. The company said its net loss widened to $259 million, or $4.03 a share, from $49 million, or 80 cents a share, a year earlier.

The company attributed the loss to $267.8 million in charges related to the previously announced restructuring of its workers' comp business. Fremont General and other California workers' comp writers are facing huge losses after a lengthy period of price cutting. Revenue fell to $365.8 million in the latest quarter from $413 million a year ago.

* Sizzler International Inc., the Culver City-based operator and franchiser of Sizzler, KFC and Oscar's restaurants, said it had a fiscal third-quarter loss, partly because of expansion costs and lingering concerns about an E. coli outbreak last year. The company had a loss of $1.4 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with profit from operations of $1.3 million, or 5 cents, a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter ended Feb. 4 rose 7% to $76.9 million.

The company also said that A. Keith Wall was appointed chief financial officer, replacing Steven Selcer, who left last year.

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