California-based shoe firm Skechers USA Inc on Monday warned it will post a fourth quarter loss amid sliding sales in a tough retail environment.

The company said in a statement it expects to report a loss of 25 to 35 cents a share for the quarter on revenues of $160 million to $170m, down from its original outlook of $195m to $205m.

It added for fiscal 2002 it expects sales to be in the range of $922.7m to $932.7m. and "is now comfortable with fiscal 2002 diluted earnings per share in the range of $1.04 to $1.14, as compared to the current First Call consensus estimate of $1.45 per share".

CFO David Weinberg said: "We believe that our record sales growth for the past two fiscal years, coupled with tough market conditions, presented us with challenges in the second half of 2002.

"The weak economic environment has been characterised by soft consumer spending, price concessions, and fear of inventory build-up at retail. As a result, our expected reorder business did not materialise.

"Additionally, our international distributor sales were lower than anticipated as a result of unstable economic and political conditions in certain countries. These factors, combined with a relatively fixed expense base, the cost of moving to our new Belgium warehouse earlier than anticipated, and reserves related to pending disputes, caused us to revise our fourth quarter and fiscal year 2002 estimates."