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J. Crew posts better-than-expected 4Q results

Apparel maker J. Crew Group Inc. on Tuesday reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss on lower demand, but results were better than analysts had predicted, sending shares up 10 percent in aftermarket trading.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Apparel maker J. Crew Group Inc. on Tuesday reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss on lower demand, but results were better than analysts had predicted, sending shares up 10 percent in aftermarket trading.

Losses for the three months ended Jan. 31 totaled $13.5 million, or 22 cents per share, compared with a year-ago profit of $25 million, or 39 cents per share, last year. Excluding impairment charges, the latest-quarter loss totaled 20 cents per share.

Revenue fell 3 percent to $388 million from $399.9 million last year.

But the results topped expectations of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who on average predicted a wider loss of 27 cents per share on revenue of $372.8 million. Analyst estimates typically exclude one-time charges.

The company itself had forecast a wider loss between 24 cents and 29 cents per share.

Demand for J.Crew's preppy clothing has dropped amid the recession and consumer spending pullback. Late last month the company said it would cut jobs, eliminate merit-based wage increases and suspend its 401(k) matching contribution plan through the rest of the year to shore up costs.

Millard Drexler, company chief executive, said in a statement J. Crew is adjusting to the "new, not fun, retail reality."

For the year, profit fell 44 percent to $54.1 million, or 85 cents per share, from $97.1 million, or $1.52 per share, a year ago. But revenue rose 7 percent to $1.42 billion from $1.33 billion last year.

The company forecast first-quarter adjusted earnings between 7 and 12 cents per share, down sharply from last year's 48-cent profit but still in range of analysts' average forecast of 10 cents per share.

Shares rose 36 cents, or 3.9 percent, to close earlier at $9.72, and jumped 98 cents to $10.70 in after-hours electronic trading.