Skechers' Loss Beats Forecast

From Bloomberg News

Manhattan Beach shoemaker Skechers USA Inc. on Friday said its fourth-quarter loss was narrower than 25 cents a share as December shipments of spring styles helped limit a sales drop.

Skechers had estimated a loss as wide as 35 cents. Sales were 5% more than the company's previous forecast of as much as $170 million, Skechers said. In the year-earlier quarter, the company had net income of $1.97 million, or 5 cents, on sales of $214.1 million.

The shoemaker, which featured pop singer Britney Spears in its ads to draw teens to products such as platform shoes and roller-skates, said sneaker sales improved even as slow consumer spending and the West Coast port shutdown hurt retailers. Skechers has cut prices amid competition from Nike Inc. and Reebok International Ltd. in the $50 to $70 range, analysts said.

"The message the company is sending is that business hasn't deteriorated any further," said John Zolidis, an analyst at Buckingham Research Group, who rates Skechers "neutral" and doesn't own the stock. "Some investors are willing to take a bet."

Skechers shares rose 90 cents to $9.79 on the New York Stock Exchange. They tumbled 42% Dec. 9, when Skechers said it would have a loss in the fourth quarter instead of a profit.

Analysts projected the firm to have a 30-cent loss, according to Thomson First Call.

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