US apparel, footwear and accessories retailer Stage Stores has lowered its earnings guidance for the full year and revealed slowing traffic hit sales in the run up to Christmas.

In the nine weeks ended 4 January, sales dropped to US$427m from $428m in the prior year quarter. Comparable store sales dropped 1.5%.

CEO Michael Glazer said the company was "pleased" with its strong sales in early November and during Thanksgiving and Black Friday. However, he said traffic slowed in the weeks leading up to Christmas and so the firm was unable to maintain its early positive sales trend.

Based on the sales results and the impact of a "highly promotional environment on merchandise margin", Stage Stores reduced its 2013 adjusted EPS guidance to a range of $1.10 to $1.15 from $1.20 to $1.30 previously.

The company will report its fourth-quarter and full-year sales and earnings results on 6 March.