Leading retailer of women's apparel, Charming Shoppes Inc, today recorded a fourth quarter loss before unusual items despite a 49 per cent surge in seasonal sales. The Pennsylvania-based company posted a $3.3 million loss, or three cents a share, for the period ended February 2, compared to a profit of $9.1m, or nine cents a share, in the year-ago period, as it had to resort to heavy markdowns.