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Coldwater Creek trims quarterly loss

Sandpoint-based women’s clothing and accessories retailer Coldwater Creek on March 3 reported higher quarterly sales and a smaller quarterly net loss compared to the year-earlier period.

Net sales in the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter, ended Jan. 30, totaled $318.4 million compared to $283.2 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. Sales from the retail segment, which includes the company’s premium retail stores, outlet stores and day spas, totaled $221 million compared to $199.7 million a year earlier. Comparable premium-store sales rose 8.9 percent. Direct (phone and Internet) sales were $97.3 million compared to $83.5 million a year earlier.

The net loss for the fourth quarter was $9.7 million, or 11 cents per share, compared to a loss of $18.6 million or 20 cents per share a year earlier. The most recent quarterly loss included a $0.6 million, non-cash charge related to certain premium retail store asset impairments, or about 1 cent per share.

Analysts expected a per-share loss of 9 cents on $312 million in revenue, Reuters reported.

Coldwater Creek’s fiscal 2009 net loss was $56.1 million, or 61 cents per share, on net sales of nearly $1.039 million. A year earlier, the net loss was $26 million or 29 cents per share. The 2009 loss includes 4 cents per share related to separation from the company’s former chief executive.

“Our fourth quarter results were significantly ahead of the prior year as we began to see an improvement in our comparable store sales and direct revenue, as well as a modest expansion in merchandise margin,” Chairman and CEO Dennis Pence said in a release. “In addition, we continued to focus on expense discipline and ended the quarter with a strong balance sheet. While we are disappointed to report a loss in fiscal 2009, we are confident that we are taking the right steps to position the company for profitability and growth.”

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