Saks loss narrows on more full price selling

Reuters

* Q2 loss per share 13 cts vs Street view loss of 17 cts

* Q2 same store-sales up 4.6 pct

* Sees H2 same-store sales up in "mid-single digit" range

* Shares up 2.4 pct in premarket trading

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Saks Inc reported a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss as the department store benefited from an uptick in luxury spending and was able to sell more items at their full price, sending shares up 2.4 percent in premarket trading.

Saks reported a second-quarter net loss of $32.2 million, or 21 cents per share, during that quarter that ended July 31, compared to a loss of $54.5 million, or 39 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, Saks reported a loss of 13 cents per share. On average, analysts expected a loss of 17 cents per share on sales of $585.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Saks said sales at stores open at least a year, or same-store sales, rose 4.6 percent during the first quarter.

Saks forecast same-store sales would rise in the "mid-single digit" range for the remainder of its fiscal year, outpacing a "low-to-mid single digit" increase in same-store inventory levels.

Overall sales were up 5.1 percent to $593.1 million. Gross margins rose 7 percentage points to 37.3 percent from a year earlier, as tighter inventory levels reduced the need for price markdowns. (Reporting by Phil Wahba; Editing by Derek Caney)

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