Apparel retailer Express forecasts weak holiday quarter, shares fall

Wed Dec 4, 2013 7:17am EST

Dec 4 (Reuters) - Apparel retailer Express Inc forecast current-quarter earnings below analysts' estimates, blaming weaker-than-expected Thanksgiving sales, sending its shares down 8 percent in premarket trading.

The company said it expects a profit of 66-71 cents per share for the fourth quarter ending Feb. 1, 2014. Analysts on average are expecting a profit of 78 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"Thanksgiving week sales exceeded last year's, however results did not meet our expectations," Chief Executive Michael Weiss said in a statement.

"We had been planning for a promotional holiday season but we now expect the intensity of those promotions to reach heightened levels."

Express said net income rose to $19.3 million, or 23 cents per share, in the third quarter, from $17.4 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier.

Express shares were trading at $22.70 in light premarket trading. They closed at $24.67 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. (Reporting By Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza)