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Saks disappointed with SDSG's quarter

BIRMINGHAM , Ala. — Saks Department Stores Group generated less-than-expected gross margin and showed poor performance during the third quarter, despite solid sales in key private brands such as Jane Seymour Home and Laura Ashley, executives from parent company Saks Inc. said during a third quarter conference call today.

"Third quarter sales and gross margin performance led to disappointing operating results of the (SDSG) segment," said Stephen Sadove, vice chairman and chief operating officer. "The deterioration in our department store group sales trend that began in the second quarter continued throughout the third quarter, resulting in a 2.6 percent third quarter comp store sales decline."

Although analysts had expected earnings of 4 cents per share, the company reported a net loss of $24.8 million, or 18 cents per share for the quarter ended Oct. 30. The results included a $17.5 million charge related to the closing of 12 Saks Fifth Avenue units, which wiped away 13 cents per share, as well as the impact of hurricanes in the south, which eroded another 3 cents per share from earnings.

Consolidated sales rose 1 percent to $1.48 billion, while comps rose just 0.3 percent.

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