Bealls’ parent company lowers full-year profit forecast


HOUSTON (AP) — Stage Stores, which operates Bealls department stores, is lowering its full-year earnings forecast, citing its disappointing sales during the November-December holiday period and the highly promotional retail environment.

President and CEO Michael Glazer said in a statement that sales were strong in early November and during Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but that traffic slowed in the weeks leading up to Christmas. There were also six fewer shopping days during the holiday period.

Stage Stores said total revenue for the November-December holiday period slipped to $427 million from $428 million.

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The retailer said that the highly promotional retail environment pressured its merchandise margin.

The company now anticipates 2013 adjusted earnings of $1.10 to $1.15 per share, down from a prior outlook of $1.20 to $1.30 per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect earnings of $1.25 per share.

For the nine-week period ended Jan. 4, the company said sales at stores open at least a year fell 1.5 percent. This figure is a key gauge of a retailer’s health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Stage Stores said its strongest categories during the nine weeks were outerwear, footwear, cosmetics and children’s. The strongest regions included the South Central, Southeast and Northwest.

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Stage Stores Inc., whose stores operate under the Bealls, Goody’s, Palais Royal, Peebles, Stage and Steele’s names, expects to report its fourth-quarter and full-year financial results on March 6. It has 887 stores in 40 states.

Its shares finished at $21.11 on Friday.