US women's wear retailer Coldwater Creek has lowered its fourth-quarter forecasts as it recorded softer than expected holiday sales.

The retailer said on Tuesday (10 January) that it expects a loss of US0.18-0.24 per share for the quarter ended 21 December. It was previously estimating a loss of $0.13-0.21 per share. However, the expected losses have narrowed on the $0.40 loss per share in the same period of 2010.

For the nine-week period ended 31 December, comparable premium store sales fell approximately 9%.

Chairman and CEO Dennis Pence said that despite the "softer than expected sales" later in December, the comparable store sales decline of 9% represents a "continuation of the sequential improvement in sales and traffic in the quarter-to-date period, versus the  26% decline in comp sales for the first nine-months of the year".

The company has continued to "tightly manage" its inventory and expenses and remains on track to realise 200-400 basis points in gross margin improvement for the fourth-quarter, said Pence. It also expects SG&A expenses to be down by $20-25m against the prior year and inventory down on a percentage basis in the "high teens".

"Looking ahead to 2012, we believe that we have built a solid foundation, both in terms of people and processes that are beginning to generate improvements in our business and are expected to support better long-term operating performance," said Pence.