UPDATE 2-Charlotte Russe sees Q3 profit below market estimate

mercoledì 26 marzo 2008 17:19

(Recasts throughout, adds analyst's comments, dateline, updates share movement)

By Dhanya Skariachan

BANGALORE, March 26 (Reuters) - Women's retailer Charlotte Russe Holding CHIC.O forecast a third-quarter profit below Wall Street expectations, citing a shift in the Easter holiday and spring break periods, sending its shares down as much as 17 percent.

The company, which sells apparel and accessories targeting young women in their teens and twenties under the Charlotte Russe, Refuge, and blu Chic brands, expects quarterly earnings of about 27 cents to 30 cents a share.

Analysts on average were expecting the mall-based specialty retailer to earn 41 cents a share, before special items, according to Reuters Estimates.

The company's bleak outlook echoes the trend among U.S. apparel retailers, which have been struggling with lower sales in the past several months as rising food and fuel prices continue to deter shoppers from stocking up on discretionary items.

"While the Easter holiday shift drove a positive comp for the third week of March, we were disappointed with our sales performance for the holiday period," Charlotte Russe CEO Mark Hoffman said in a statement.

This year, Easter Sunday fell on March 23, the earliest since 1913. Last year, it was on April 8.

An early Easter coupled with bad weather gave consumers no real incentive to buy spring apparel, Roth Capital Partners analyst Elizabeth Pierce said by phone from California.   Continua...