• Posts net loss of $4.2m
  • Sales fall 23% to $125.7m
  • Same store sales tumbled 25.7% 

Contemporary women's apparel retailer Bebe Stores Inc has swung to a first quarter loss after being hit by lower sales and higher markdowns.

Net loss for the three months to 3 October was $4.2m or $0.05 per share, compared to a profit of $11.2m or $0.12 per share in the prior year.

Sales were down 23%, it said, falling to $125.7m from $163.3m a year earlier. Same store sales tumbled 25.7%.

The company, which operates 307 stores under the Bebe, Bebe Sport, bbsp, 2b bebe and PH8 brand names, said gross margin as a percentage of sales fell to 36.7% from 44.9%.

Based on current business, it expects second quarter same-stores sales will be "less negative than the incoming trend" and with earnings per share down to $0.00 to $0.05 against last year's $0.08 per share.