Weak consumer sentiment weighs on apparel retailers' outlook

Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:43pm EDT

(Reuters) - Apparel retailers Guess Inc (GES.N), Tilly's Inc (TLYS.N) and Pacific Sunwear of California Inc (PSUN.O) forecast first-quarter results significantly below analysts' estimates as they battle flagging consumer demand due to a sluggish economy and higher payroll taxes.

Shares of Guess fell 5 percent to $25.55 in extended trade, while Tilly's shares fell 10 percent to $12.35.

"The recent tax change and adverse weather have all contributed to this decline in certain degrees," Guess Chief Executive Paul Marciano said on a call with analysts.

U.S. consumers were worried about the impact of higher gasoline prices, along with slow tax refunds that put some spending on hold.

Guess expects first-quarter earnings of 5 cents to 10 cents per share, lagging analysts' average estimate of 29 cents per share. The denim maker's full-year profit forecast of $1.70 to $1.90 per share also came in below expectations of $2.31.

The company forecast first-quarter revenue between $545 million and $560 million, below estimates of $590.8 million.

Comparable store sales per week for North America were down 10 percent since the first quarter began in February, the company said.

However, Guess's fourth-quarter adjusted profit of 95 cents per share beat analysts' average estimate of 87 cents, boosted by double digit revenue growth in key markets such as Korea, Germany, Greater China, Mexico and Russia.

TEEN RETAILERS FOLLOW

Surf- and skate-related product retailers Tilly's and PacSun also forecast first-quarter profit below analysts' estimates.

Tilly's forecast profit of 4 cents to 7 cents per share for the first quarter, below estimates of 14 cents per share.

The company also said it expects same-store sales to decline in the low- to mid-single digit range.

PacSun said it expects a first-quarter adjusted loss of 17 cents to 24 cents per share and revenue between $160 million and $167 million.

Analysts on average were looking for a loss of 13 cents per share on revenue of $167.9 million.

(Reporting by Juhi Arora and Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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