Stronger sales were insufficient to offset higher interest expense and accounting items as American Apparel Inc. more than doubled losses in the third quarter.

This story first appeared in the November 14, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In the three months ended Sept. 30, the net loss escalated to $18.5 million, or 18 cents a diluted share, from a loss of $7 million, or 7 cents, in the year-ago quarter. Sales grew 15.1 percent, to $162.2 million from $140.9 million, as comparable-store sales were up 20 percent and comparable online sales up 21 percent.

Gross margin declined to 52.5 percent of sales from 53.2 percent in the 2011 quarter.

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While interest expense was up 18.4 percent to $10.5 million from $8.8 million a year ago, the biggest toll on the bottom line came from a $13.3 million loss tied to the increase in the fair market value of outstanding warrants based on changes in the company’s stock price. Although the warrants will convert to equity when exercised, the loss on them comes against a gain of $6.1 million in last year’s quarter.

Stripping out interest and warrant liability along with other items, the company said consolidated adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization more than doubled to $13.3 million from $6.4 million a year ago.

“EBITDA performance for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2012, was $28 million or double that reported for the full year in 2011,” said Dov Charney, chairman and chief executive officer of the financially troubled vertical retailer. “As we improve store productivity and aggressively grow our online and wholesale businesses, we expect operating expense leverage will allow us to continue to significantly grow EBITDA performance.”

However, the company lowered its projections for full-year EBITDA to a range of $36 million to $40 million based on the impact of Hurricane Sandy and investments in advertising and store technologies. The earlier guidance was for EBITDA of $36 million to $44 million.