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Same-Store Sales Dip at Guess; Loss Widens

May 08, 2003|Leslie Earnest | Times Staff Writer

Guess Inc.'s first-quarter loss was deeper than analysts had expected as same-store sales slipped and promotions hurt margins, the company said Wednesday.

The Los Angeles-based fashion jeans designer and retailer said it lost $5.8 million, or 13 cents a share, in the quarter ended March 29, compared with a loss of $3.6 million, or 8 cents, in the same quarter a year earlier. The previous year's results included before-tax charges of $700,000.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected Guess to post a loss of 4 cents a share.

Revenue was $139.6 million, up 1% from last year. Sales at Guess stores open at least a year, known as same-store sales, dipped 1.7%.

But sales trends improved as the quarter progressed, the company said.

In the five weeks ended May 3, same-store sales increased 9.3%, rising 5.6% at the company's full-price stores and 19.6% at its factory outlets. A late Easter boosted April sales this year for some retailers.

"We are pleased with our current trends," Guess President Carlos Alberini told analysts during a conference call. "Importantly, the product is also selling well in our wholesale accounts."

Revenue from wholesale customers fell to $159.6 million in 2002, a 54% decline from two years before, according to documents Guess filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Guess shares closed Wednesday at $5, up 40 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange. The earnings were released after the market closed.

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