Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc. saw its shares fall another 21.8 percent Friday after reporting its first-quarter net loss more than doubled despite the specialty retailer’s continued efforts to cut costs in order to mitigate the impact of lower sales.

This story first appeared in the May 18, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Seattle-based company said its net loss grew to $44.5 million, or $1.44 a share, for the period ended April 4, compared with a loss of $19.3 million, or 63 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. The firm said the “increased net loss” was due mainly to a $10.3 million accounting loss on the senior term loan interest rate hedge, and a lower noncash income tax benefit of $11 million.

Revenue for the quarter receded 15.7 percent to $179.8 million from $213.2 million, a year earlier.

Comparable-store sales slid 13.7 percent for the quarter, as retail, outlet and direct fell 18.4, 5.8 and 10.7 percent, respectively.

Following release of the results Thursday evening, shares on Friday dropped 13 cents, or 21.8 percent, to close at 50 cents. They rose 9 cents on Thursday before taking a steep dive in after-hours trading.

The outdoor apparel retailer said quarterly gross margin declined to 24.5 percent of sales from 27.6 percent in the year-ago quarter, while cash and cash equivalents contracted 95.7 percent to $2.6 million from $60.4 million since January of this year.

“The first quarter was a difficult one, as the sharp downturn in the economy took its toll on our sales,” president and chief executive officer Neil Fiske said in the company earnings call. “We remain focused on our turnaround agenda.”

Looking ahead, Fiske said comp sales are “likely to stay negative” until the fourth quarter, or even into the first quarter of 2010.

He also added the company’s “biggest issue” is its “debt burden,” but declined to comment when asked about rumors of a potential buyout.