Bebe Stores Inc. said it narrowed its third-quarter loss.

For the three months ended April 5, the loss narrowed to $24.3 million, or 31 cents a diluted share, from a loss of $49.3 million, or 62 cents, a year ago. Net sales fell 17.2 percent to $93.5 million from $112.9 million.

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Steve Birkhold, chief executive officer, said the retail chain’s third-quarter performance failed to meet company expectations mostly due to “winter storms and a challenging overall retail environment.”

The ceo said the favorable response to spring merchandise “gives us confidence that we are winning over and retaining our Bebe girl,” adding that the company is taking the right steps to “position our company for long-term sustainable growth.”

The company said its expects fourth-quarter comparable-store sales to be flat. “We expect net loss per share for the fourth quarter to be in the midteens range prior to any non-recurring expenses,” the retailer said.

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