UPDATE 1-Bebe Stores to discontinue PH8 line

Tue Jul 6, 2010 7:55am EDT

* To close or convert all PH8 stores in 2011

* Sees $17 mln pretax charge

* Sees Q4 comp sales at lower end of view

* Remains comfortable with Q4 outlook

July 6 (Reuters) - Women's apparel retailer Bebe Stores Inc (BEBE.O) said it will discontinue its troubled PH8 line to focus on developing its 2b bebe brand, and expects to report fourth-quarter same-store sales at the lower end of its forecast.

The retailer, which caters to 18-to-34-year olds, said it will close or convert all 48 of its PH8 stores into 2b bebe stores in 2011, and expects to record a pretax charge of $17 million. [ID:nWNAB3188]

The store closures are expected to commence in the first quarter of 2011, Bebe said. The Brisbane, California-based company said it decided to close PH8 after the brand reported a loss of $10 million for fiscal 2010.

Last year, Bebe revamped its Bebe Sport store concept and renamed it PH8 in a bid to stem sales declines and preserve brand equity at the main bebe line. [ID:nBNG503768]

PH8 stores replaced about 62 Bebe Sport stores in the United States and Canada, and sell active street wear and performance products.

Bebe also said it remains comfortable with its fourth-quarter outlook. In May, the company said it expects the results to range between a loss of 2 cents a share and earnings of 4 cents a share. [ID:nSGE6450NF]

Shares of the company closed at $6.33 Friday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Shradhha Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Vinu Pilakkott)

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