NEW YORK — A charge related to the closure of its Chicago store caused Syms Corp., the 41-unit off-price apparel chain, to report a wider loss in its second quarter.

The Secaucus, N.J.-based retailer said that, including that $4 million charge related to the closing of its Chicago store, its net loss widened to $6.2 million, or 39 cents a share, for the three months ended Aug. 31. Syms reported a loss of $2.1 million, or 13 cents in the comparable quarter last year, including income of $3 million from an insurance recovery. Sales for the quarter decreased 0.5 percent to $65.1 million from $65.3 million last year but were up 0.5 percent on a comparable-same store basis.

Syms noted the decision to close the Chicago store was to cut losses being incurred due to construction in the area, which is expected to extend over a two- to three-year period. It also said there is a potential for rent liability for the remainder of the nine-year lease term, but is currently unable to quantify the extent of liability.

For the first half, net losses grew to $5.5 million, or 35 cent a share, versus a loss of $2.9 million, or 18 cents for the first half of 2001. Sales for the period decreased 2.9 percent to $133 million from $136.9 million and were down 0.7 percent on a comp basis.

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