Express Inc.'s stock was indicated sharply lower in premarket trade Thursday, after the apparel retailer missed fiscal third-quarter sales estimates and provided a profit outlook for the current quarter that was well below analyst projections. For the quarter ended Nov. 1, earnings came in at $14.6 million, or 17 cents a share, down from $19.3 million, or 23 cents a share, in the year earlier period, but above the FactSet consensus analyst estimate of 16 cents a share. Sales fell 1% to $497.6 million, while same-store sales declined 5%, missing analyst forecasts of $500 million and a decline of 2.8%, respectively. For the fourth quarter, the company expects earnings per share of 38 cents to 45 cents, compared with analyst forecasts of 60 cents. Same-store sales are expected to decline in the negative-mid-to-high-single digits percentage range, while analyst were expecting a 0.1% increase. Chief Executive Michael Weiss said the outlook reflects "current retail store trends and expectations that mall traffic will continue to remain challenging throughout the holiday period." The stock traded down 7.5% on very light volume in the premarket. Through Wednesday, the stock fell 22% year to date, compared with a 12% rise in the S&P 500.
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