October 2, 2012 / 12:25 PM / 5 years ago

Apparel chain Express cuts 3rd-qtr profit forecast

Oct 2 (Reuters) - Apparel retailer Express Inc said its third-quarter earnings would miss its forecast as sales trends weakened in September, sending its shares down 19 percent in premarket trading.

The company, which sells clothes and accessories to 20- to 30-year-old men and women, said higher promotional activity to reduce inventory levels also contributed to lowered estimates.

The company expects 16 cents to 20 cents per share. It had earlier expected to earn 27 to 32 cents per share.

Analysts on average were expecting the company to earn 29 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company last month cut its full-year profit forecast for the second time in three months as demand for its knit tops softened and inventory piled up in the women’s category.

Express said it expects third-quarter comparable sales to decline in the mid-single-digit range.

However, the company said a favorable reaction to new sweater styles helped improve traffic in the final week of September and added that it would focus on maintain control of inventory and expenses.

Express shares were down at $12.16 in premarket trade. They had closed at $15.01 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

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