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Key revenue metric falls 8.7 pct. at Bebe in 1Q

BRISBANE, Calif. -- Women's clothing company Bebe says revenue at stores open at least a year fell 8.7 percent in its most recent quarter, which included the key back-to-school shopping season.

Wedbush analyst Betty Chen said Bebe's business not only suffered from intensified price cutting from peers like H&M but also was hurt by its own "stale and ineffective" discounting tactics.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a smaller decline of 6.8 percent. The metric is an important gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores that recently opened or closed.

Bebe Stores Inc. said Wednesday that retail sales for the three months ended Oct. 1, its fiscal first quarter, dropped 9.4 percent to $105.1 million.

Bebe also said Wednesday that it has hired Russell Reynolds Associates to help it find a new CEO. The chain says its goal is to have a new CEO before year's end. Founder Manny Mashouf has been serving as CEO since January 2009, when Gregory Scott resigned.

Bebe, which is based in Brisbane, Calif., runs 250 stores in the U.S., Canada and Japan.

Shares of Bebe fell 8 cents to close at $4.59 on Wednesday.

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