Francesca's same-store sales growth slows, shares fall

Wed Jun 5, 2013 6:51pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Women's clothing retailer Francesca's Holdings Corp (FRAN.O) reported a 29 percent rise in quarterly revenue but a slowdown in comparable-store sales growth dragged down the company's shares 10 percent in post-market trading.

Francesca's also forecast second-quarter earnings of 35 to 36 cents per share on sales of $94.5 million to $95.5 million, almost in line with analyst estimates.

The company said same-store sales, which included online sales, rose 2 percent in the quarter ended May 4, compared to a 16 percent growth a year earlier. The latest quarter number was below the 5 percent increase Wall Street had expected, Cowen & Co analyst John Kernan said.

"This (results) is the function of tough comparisons from last year and a lousy weather environment. There's nothing wrong with the company ... they're still opening a lot of stores," Kernan said.

A cooler-than-usual spring has affected many apparel retailers as shoppers desisted from buying seasonal items.

Sales rose 29 percent to $79.0 million in the first quarter, driven by the opening of 56 boutiques. It plans to open 85 more boutiques this year.

"The most significant driver to our sales growth has and continues to be new boutique openings," Chief Executive Neill Davis said on a post-earnings call with analysts.

Net income rose to $10.9 million, or 24 cents per share, from $8.7 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding charges related to a secondary equity offering, the company earned 26 cents per share.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 26 cents per share on revenue of $79.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company's shares were down 7 percent at $27.70 in post-market trading. They closed at $30.09 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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