* Third-quarter earnings/share $0.49 vs estimate $0.45
* Third-quarter sales $118.5 mln vs estimate $113.2 mln
* Expects fourth-quarter profit/share of 52-58 cents
* Analysts expect fourth-quarter earnings/share of 58 cents
* Shares fall as much as 4 pct
Nov 5 Premium jeans maker True Religion Apparel
Inc forecast current-quarter earnings largely below
analysts' expectations after reporting a fall in third-quarter
same-store sales as consumers looked for cheaper alternatives.
Shares of the Vernon, California-based company fell as much
as 4 percent in morning trading.
True Religion's sales rose 9 percent to $118.5 million in
the quarter ended Sept. 30, helped by its U.S. wholesale
business, but sales at stores open for more than a year fell 4.7
"While our same-store sales fell short of our expectations,
we were able to exit the quarter with less slow-moving
merchandise," Chief Executive Jeffrey Lubell said.
Slow-moving styles and apparel sold at higher price points
have resulted in the company losing market share to rivals with
The declining sales led the company to evaluate takeover
interest from peers and private equity players last month.
On a post earnings call with analysts on Monday, True
Religion said the review was still underway and no deal had been
The company expects fourth-quarter earnings of 52 to 58
cents per share. But this was largely below analysts'
expectations of 58 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The impact of Hurricane Sandy was not included in the
guidance, the company said.
"(Sales, general and administrative expense) continued to
outpace our expectation and overall (gross margin) was weaker
than we had modeled," Lazard Capital Markets analyst Diana Katz
said in a client note.
SG&A costs rose 11 percent in the third quarter.
Overall gross margins fell to 63.3 percent from 64.8 percent
due to higher discounted merchandise.
True Religion's shares were down 1.5 percent at $26.15 in
midday trading on the Nasdaq. They touched a low of $25.53