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Guess shares fall on unexpected loss forecast

Guess shares fall on unexpected loss forecast
Guess Inc. said it expects to lose between 5 cents and 9 cents a share in its fiscal first quarter. Above, a Guess store at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa in 2011. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Guess Inc. shares tumbled after the Los Angeles apparel firm unexpectedly forecast a loss for its current quarter.

The retailer said late Wednesday that it expects to lose between 5 cents and 9 cents a share in its fiscal first quarter. The company made the disclosure while discussing its results for the fiscal fourth quarter ended Feb. 1.

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Guess shares were down $1.41, or 5%, in midsession trading Thursday.

Despite the poor expectations for the first quarter, the company still expects to turn a profit for the full 2015 fiscal year.

Paul Marciano, the company's cofounder and chief executive, said there's reason for optimism. Although sales at its North America retail stores have been soft, the company has been making gains in online sales.

"We have high hopes for this year but we still have to make a lot of investment, a lot of adjustment and patience," Marciano said in a conference call with analysts.

Guess said sales at its North America retail stores were down 6% in its fiscal fourth quarter compared wirh the same period a year earlier.

"2013 was a challenging year and I was especially disappointed in the performance of North American retail business outside of [online sales]," Marciano said.

Guess operates 494 stores in the U.S. and Canada and 346 stores in Europe, Asia and Latin America. The company's licensees and distributors operate an additional 868 stores outside the U.S. and Canada.

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