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Sharp Loss for Syms

The insulation many retailers had from the recession didn't extend to Syms Corp., which fell to a loss on sharply lower sales in the fourth quarter.

The insulation many off-price retailers had from the effects of the recession didn’t extend to Syms Corp., which fell to a loss on sharply lower sales in the fourth quarter.

In the three months ended Feb. 28, the Secaucus, N.J.-based retail group had a net loss of $1.9 million, or 13 cents a share, versus net income of $257,000, or 2 cents, in the comparable prior-year period.

Net sales declined 21.2 percent, to $54.1 million from $68.6 million, and fell 19.7 percent on a same-store basis.

Although Syms provided no comment on its results, they indicated erosion in sales trends in the last quarter of the fiscal year.

For the 12 months, the firm lost $3.4 million, or 23 cents a share, compared with net income of $807,000, or 6 cents, in the 2007-2008 fiscal year. Sales fell 9.4 percent, to $242 million from $267.1 million, and same-store sales receded 7.9 percent.

Syms is publicly held, but members of the Syms family, including chairman Sy Syms and chief executive officer Marcy Syms, Sy’s daughter, hold 57 percent of the company’s outstanding shares.