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Shoppers give apparel retailer Body Central a miss; shares fall

Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 | 5:57 PM ET

* Third-quarter loss/share $0.55 vs est loss/share $0.19

* Revenue falls 10 pct to $60.8 mln vs est $66.0 mln

* Comparable-store sales fall 18.3 pct

* Shares fall as much as 20 pct after the bell

Oct 31 (Reuters) - Women's apparel retailer Body Central Corp reported a larger-than-expected quarterly loss as it struggled to attract customers, sending its shares down 20 percent after the bell.

Chief Executive Brian Woolf attributed the disappointing third-quarter results to a decline in U.S. mall traffic and the overall weakness in the women's apparel sector.

"I think in terms of the government shutdown, the fact that Obamacare is coming in, a lot of customers aren't sure what that means to their pocketbook and how much they have in terms of disposable income ... there is a lot of nervousness out there," Woolf said on a post-earnings call with analysts.

Apparel retailers including Aeropostale Inc and Abercrombie & Fitch Co also reported weak quarterly results as customers restrain spending in an uncertain economy.

Body Central reported an 18.3 percent decline in comparable-store sales for the quarter ended Sept. 28. This is the seventh straight quarterly fall in same-store sales.

The company struggled last year with unappealing merchandise, forcing it to discount heavily to sell slow-moving inventory. The stock has fallen about 43 percent this year.

The company posted a loss of $9.0 million, or 55 cents per share in the third quarter, compared with a profit of $153,000, or 1 cent per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a loss of 19 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell 10 percent to $60.8 million, missing the average analyst estimate of $66.0 million.

The company also said it has cut about 18 jobs, or 11 percent of its corporate workforce.

Body Central shares were down at $4.70 in extended trading after closing at $5.63 on the Nasdaq on Thursday.

(Reporting By Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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