Stage Stores Inc narrowed its third-quarter loss.


For the three months ended Nov. 1, the net loss was $5.3 million, or 17 cents a diluted share, from a net loss of $11 million, or 34 cents, a year ago.  Net sales rose 2.6 percent to $364.2 million from $355 million. Comparable-store sales gained 2.3 percent for the period.

Michael Glazer, president and chief executive officer, said the quarter’s results were “driven by strong sales during the back-to-school period and encouraging initial selling of the fall assortment.”

He also said the company made progress on its strategic initiatives, which drove top-line and bottom-line gains. The ceo noted the “40 percent sales gain” in the direct-to-consumer business. He added that categories that did well in the quarter were cosmetics and women’s apparel.

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