US women's wear retailer Chico's FAS has posted fourth quarter 2008 net loss of $40.5m, including $9.1m of store impairment charges and $6.6m severance charges, compared to a net loss of $20.5m in the prior year period.

Fourth quarter 2008 net sales totalled $373.4m, down from $409.3m in 2007's Q4.

The company's year-end inventories decreased 15% per selling square foot, and year-end cash and marketable securities were $268.7m.

For the fiscal year period the company had a net loss of $19.1m, compared to net income of $88.9m for fiscal year 2007. The full fiscal year 2008 results included the aforementioned charges listed above.

Same-store sales decreased 13.0% for the thirteen-week period, and decreased 15.1% for the fifty-two week period ended 31 January.

Gross margin for the fourth quarter 2008 decreased 14.9% to $166.0m from $195.1m in the prior year's fourth quarter.

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the fourth quarter decreased slightly to $228.4m from $229.3m in last year's fourth quarter.

During the fiscal 2008 fourth quarter, the company opened six new stores and closed 13 stores. Also, during this fourth quarter, the company expanded/relocated two stores. In fiscal 2008, the company opened 62 new stores, closed 24 stores and expanded/relocated 32 stores.