Coldwater Creek drops as 3Q results miss views

AP News
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Posted: Nov 25, 2009 11:04 AM

Shares of Coldwater Creek Inc. slumped Wednesday after the women's apparel retailer posted a third-quarter loss that missed Wall Street's expectations.

Late Tuesday the company, based in Sandpoint, Idaho, reported a loss of 37 cents per share for the three months ended Oct. 31. It was a much bigger loss than that of a year ago, when Coldwater Creek lost a penny per share for the period.

Adjusted for one-time charges, the retailer lost 4 cents per share in the current quarter. But analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, whose estimates usually exclude one-time items, predicted a loss of 3 cents per share.

Margaret Whitfield of Sterne Agee & Leach said in a client note that the third-quarter performance also missed her forecast for a loss of 2 cents per share. Whitfield said that a weak response to an October sale led to further markdowns, driving down gross margins 130 basis points to 36.4 percent.

The analyst cautioned that the fourth quarter may closely mirror the third quarter, as catalog prices are already set and promotions are planned.

Whitfield reiterated a "Neutral" rating and $9 price target.

Coldwater Creek's stock fell 78 cents, or 15 percent, to $4.57 in morning trading. The shares have traded in a range of $1.24 to $9.20 over the last year.