May 21, 2009
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Stage Stores posts narrower-than-expected Q1 loss

May 21, 2009

May 21 (Reuters) - Department-store operator Stage Stores Inc (SSI.N) posted a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss, helped by lower expenses, and raised the lower end of its earnings forecast for the full year.

Stage Stores, Spring-Summer 2009

For the full year, Stage Stores upped the low end of its earnings outlook by 5 cents to 40 cents a share, and kept the high end of its forecast at 65 cents a share.

It expects full-year revenue of $1.43 billion to $1.47 billion.

Stage Stores ended the first quarter with 14 percent less comparable store inventory, and reduced its selling, general administrative expenses by 5 percent during the quarter.

The company posted a first-quarter loss of $905,000, or 2 cents a share, compared with a profit of $2.3 million, or 6 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Net sales fell 6 percent to $333.6 million for the quarter ended May 2.

Analysts on average expected the company to post a loss of 3 cents a share, before special items, on revenue of $334.9 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

The company said it plans to open 13 to 15 additional stores during the remainder of the year.

For the alerts, please double-click (Reporting by Jennifer Robin Raj in Bangalore; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal)

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