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Saks posts smaller loss in Q4


New York City Saks reported Wednesday that its loss narrowed in the fourth quarter compared with last year, as results were helped by reduced inventory and fewer deep discounting to clear out goods. But it offered a cautious sales outlook amid continued economic uncertainty.

Saks said that it lost $4.61 billion in the quarter that ended Jan. 30, compared with a loss of $99.74 billion in last year's fourth quarter. The latest quarter included several one-time items that weighed down profit by $14.8 million related to asset impairments and a pension charged associated with layoffs.

Revenue fell 3.4% to $811.3 million.

In a statement released Wednesday, Stephen Sadove, Saks chairman and chief executive, said that excluding one-time items, the company was able to post a modest fourth-quarter profit due to substantial improvement in its gross margin and "diligent" expense controls.

Saks said that several categories including women's designer sportswear, handbags, shoes and jewelry showed "relative strength." Its New York flagship store fared better than the rest of its stores.

Sadove said that there is more "stability and predictability" in the business compared with a year ago, the overall environment remains "somewhat uncertain and challenging." As a result, Saks expects that same-store sales will be in the low to mid-single digits for the full year, compared with a sharp 14.7% drop last year.

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