NET OFF 59.4% AT FILENE'S BASEMENT

NEW YORK--Filene's Basement Corp. reported earnings slumped 59.4 percent in the third quarter, dragged down by a 9 percent decline in same-store sales.
The off-price segment of retailing has been one of the hardest hit this year and is undergoing consolidation. Last month, T.J. Maxx, the nation's biggest off-pricer, agreed to take over the second biggest, Marshalls. Problems among off-price chains have been compounded by the more competitive pricing at department stores and the tough climate for apparel retailing.
In addition, Filene's Basement underwent a period of expansion and has closed some of its Midwest stores.
The Wellesley, Mass.-based Filene's Basement earned $1.6 million, or 8 cents a share, down from $4 million, or 18 cents, a year earlier. Results were below Wall Street's mean estimate of 14 cents a share.
Total sales dipped 7 percent to $154.2 million from $165.8 million.
In the nine months, Filene's lost $673,000 against earnings of $1.9 million, or 9 cents a share. The year-ago nine months included a $2.3 million charge for the early retirement of debt.
Sales slid 4.1 percent to $412.2 million from $429.8 million. Same-store sales sagged 7 percent.

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