• Company posts Q2 loss of $4.8m
  • Sales down 10.9% to $135.5m
  • Gross margin slipped to 33.9%

US women's wear retailer Bebe Stores has reported a loss during its second quarter after increased markdowns negatively impacted group sales and margins.

Net loss reached US$4.8m for the quarter to 29 December, compared to a profit of $6.6m the prior year. 

Sales declined 10.9% to $135.5m, compared to $152m the same period the year before. Comparable store sales fell 10.5%.

Gross margin slipped to 33.9% against 40.1% the prior year because of increased markdowns coupled with unfavourable occupancy leverage.

The company opened one 2b Bebe store and closed one Bebe store during the quarter.

For the first half, net loss narrowed to $7.4m compared to $8.9m the prior year. Net sales were $252.6m, down 9.2% from $278.3m the year before.

Looking forward, Bebe Stores said it forecasts comparable store sales to be in the negative mid-single digit range. Depending on actual sales and markdowns, the net loss is expected to be in the range of mid-teens per share, it added.