NEW YORK — Nearly $13 million in store closing costs spelled the difference between black and red ink for Syms Corp.’s third quarter.
For the 13 weeks ended Nov. 25, Syms had a net loss of $7.7 million, or 48 cents a share, compared to net income of $2.8 million, or 17 cents, in the year-ago period. The loss includes $12.9 million in charges associated with the closure of its downtown Boston store and the termination of leases in four other locations.
Without the charge, Syms would have earned 1 cent a share in the quarter.
Sales declined 1.4 percent, to $94.3 million from $95.6 million in the 1999 quarter. On a same-store basis, sales declined 0.7 percent.
In addition to the downtown Boston location, which closed on Oct. 29, Syms will close a unit in Gurnee, Ill., at the end of January. The three other locations to be shuttered weren’t disclosed by the company.
“We removed a serious obstacle to profitability,” Marcy Syms, chief executive, said of the closures in a statement. “The action taken will reduce expenses, improve efficiencies and increase our ability to be more competitive going forward.”
Sy Syms, chairman, noted that the company finished 2000 on two consecutive positive notes, registering same-store sales growth of 8 percent in November and, in the current fourth quarter, 4.5 percent in December.
For the nine months, losses at Syms totaled $10.5 million, or 66 cents a share, versus net income of $105,000 in the first nine months of 1999. Without the store- closing charge, the loss for the nine months would have been 17 cents a share.
Sales for the nine months reached $250.1 million, 0.7 percent above last year’s $248.2 million, but 0.9 percent below the comparable 1999 period on a comp-store basis.
Syms currently operates 46 off-price apparel stores.

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