Wet Seal sees Q4 below Wall Street view, shares fall

today Nov 20, 2008
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Nov 20 (Reuters) - Specialty retailer Wet Seal Inc , which posted a 7.6 percent fall in quarterly same-store sales, forecast a weak fourth quarter, which includes the holiday season, sending its shares down as much as 14 percent.

Many apparel retailers are bracing for a grim holiday season as the ongoing downturn in the U.S. economy forces more and more buyers to stop short of spending on non-essentials.

The company, which runs the Arden B. chain in addition to its namesake stores, expects same-store sales to fall 10 percent to 13 percent in the fourth quarter.

The company forecast fourth-quarter earnings of 6 cents to 10 cents a share on net sales of $155.4 million to $160.8 million.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 13 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $169.5 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

For the third quarter ended Nov. 1, Wet Seal posted a profit of $6.8 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with a loss of $3.3 million, or 4 cents a share, in the prior-year period.

Shares of the company fell to a low of $1.94 but pared some losses and were down 5 percent at $2.13 in morning trade on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Shivani Singh in Bangalore; Editing by Deepak Kannan)

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