) to neutral from buy.
Analyst Robert Ohmes says third-quarter comparable sales declined 7.5% and revenue were $178 million, vs. his 3.5% increase and $196 million estimates, respectively. He says sales were dramatically below forecast. Footwear and outerwear sales have been weaker than expected (partially due to warmer-than-expected weather).
Also, its co-branded credit card promotions were apparently not as effective at driving sales of higher ticket items. Finally, new square-foot productivity appeared to track roughly 75% of last year's store chain average (vs. 80% to 90% for the first-half of 2004). Ohmes slashed his 75 cents fiscal 2005 (ending January) earnings per share estimate to 30 cents and $28 target to $12.