Vera Bradley Inc. reported Wednesday fiscal third-quarter results that missed expectations, and provided a downbeat outlook for the current quarter. The women's handbag and accessories maker's stock was halted for news until 8:30 a.m. ET. Earnings for the quarter ended Oct. 29 fell to $8.8 million, or 24 cents a share, from $10.3 million, of 27 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to 20 cents, below the FactSet consensus of 22 cent. Revenue was $126.7 million, compared with $126.7 million a year ago and below the FactSet consensus of $129.2 million. The company expects fourth-quarter EPS of 23 cents to 25 cents and revenue of $135 million to $140 million, below the FactSet EPS consensus of 47 cents and the revenue consensus of $158.8 million. " Third quarter diluted EPS was modestly below our guidance range, primarily due to continued weakness in the specialty channel and incremental promotional activity in our factory stores," said Chief Executive Robert Wallstrom. "In addition, verabradley.com sales were below expectations, primarily due to reduced levels of retirement product." Separately, the company said it entered into three licensing agreements in home, hosiery and swim. The stock has lost 6.9% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 8.2%.
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