Women’s apparel chain Charlotte Russe Holding Inc on Thursday lowered its fourth quarter outlook amid a disappointing back-to-school selling season.

The California-based operator of 244 stores said in a news release it now expects earnings of 23-25 cents a share on a 20 per cent rise in sales in the fourth quarter ending September 28.

The chain also slashed its quarterly same-store sales forecast and revealed it expects to open 75 new stores in fiscal 2003.

Chairman and CEO, Bernard Zeichner, said: "Slow mall traffic and generally disappointing back-to-school selling has resulted in a downward revision to our comparable store sales projection for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2002 to negative mid-single digit levels."