NEW YORK — Leading off the earnings season for specialty stores, youth-oriented Charlotte Russe Holdings and Bebe Inc. Thursday saw their profits go in opposite directions even as both warned that uncertainty in the retail environment, specifically mall traffic, had led them to take a cautious outlook for the holiday season.

For San Diego-based CR, tight inventory and expense control led to an 11.2 percent increase in net income to $5.9 million, or 25 cents a diluted share, for the fourth quarter ended Sept. 28. Last year, the firm reported income of $5.3 million, or 23 cents. On Sept. 19, CR lowered its guidance for the quarter to between 23 and 25 cents from a July outlook of 28 to 31 cents. Sales rose 22.5 percent to $109.4 million from $89.3 million, but fell 5 percent on a comparable-store basis.

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