• Swings to Q4 operating profit of US$25.1m from a loss of $5.5m
  • Net sales fell 9% to $94.9m from $104.3m
  • Net gain of $31.7m from licensing joint-venture with Bluestar Alliance

US women's wear retailer Bebe Stores has booked a mixed fourth-quarter as it moved to an operating profit but saw sales and margins slide. 

Income from continuing operations for the three months ended 2 July climbed to US$25.1m from a loss of $5.5m in the prior year period. This year's figure included a net gain of $31.7m from the firm's new licensing joint-venture with Bluestar Alliance.

Bebe ramps up new licensees under Bluestar deal

Gross margin, however, narrowed to 30.9% from 34.8%, primarily due to aggressive promotions, the write-down of aged inventory and lost leverage on fixed occupancy cost.

Net sales fell 9% to $94.9m from $104.3m, while comparable store sales for the quarter dropped 4.6% from an increase of 1.1% in the prior year period.

For the full year, losses widened to $27.5m from $25.7m, while net sales fell 8% to $393.6m. Comparable sales were down 4.5%.

"In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 we saw sustainable changes in our business, including the signing of the joint venture agreement with Bluestar," says CEO Manny Mashouf. "To date, Bluestar has signed 14 new licensees including Global Brands Group, Major Brands PVT, Mamiye Brothers, and PPI Apparel Group."