Express's Stock Tumbles After Warning Of First-quarter Profit And Sales Miss

By Tomi Kilgore Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Express Inc. tumbled 8% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the apparel retailer provided a downbeat outlook for the fiscal first quarter along declines fourth-quarter profit and sales. For the quarter to Jan. 28, earnings fell to $22.8 million, or 29 cents a share, from $56.1 million, or 67 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. The FactSet consensus was for earnings per share of 29 cents. Revenue fell to $678.8 million from $765.6 million, but topped the FactSet consensus of $676 million. Same-store sales dropped 13%, compared with expectations of a 12.2% decline. "As expected, our store performance continued to be impacted by challenging mall traffic and a promotional retail environment," said Chief Executive David Kornberg. Looking ahead, Express expects first-quarter same-store sales to be in the "negative high single-digits" percentage range, compared with expectations of negative 5.3%. The company expects a per-share loss of 4 cents to breakeven for the quarter, compared with the FactSet EPS consensus of 15 cents. The stock has lost 12% over the past three months, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has declined 13% and the S&P 500 has gained 5.4%.

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