By  on March 18, 2009

Charming Shoppes Inc. said Wednesday that it offset weakening sales with better merchandise margins and posted a lower-than-expected fourth-quarter loss.

In the three months ended Jan. 31, the nation’s largest operator of plus-size apparel stores recorded a net loss of $108.5 million, or 94 cents a diluted share, compared with a net loss of $124.4 million, or $1.07 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Excluding discontinued operations and aftertax charges of $69.5 million related to restructuring and goodwill and store impairment assessments, the loss came to 34 cents a share, 4 cents lower than consensus estimates.

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