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The weak sales and same-store sales trend continues for Bebe Stores Inc. (BEBE - Snapshot Report), as the company posted weaker-than-expected retail sales results for the third quarter of fiscal 2013 ended Apr 6, 2013. The company will announce further details with the third-quarter earnings release on May 9.

Total retail sales of $104.0 million for the quarter declined 3.7% from $108.0 million in the prior-year quarter. Comps declined 8.6% for the quarter compared with an increase of 7.2% in the year-ago period. Last quarter, the company’s total retail sales were down 11.7%, while comps declined 10.5%.

Year to date, Bebe’s total retail sales dipped 8.6% to $333.7 million from $365.0 million reported in the prior-year period. Moreover, during the period, the company registered a 9.3% decline in its comps compared with a rise of 8.1% achieved in the year-ago period.

The decline in retail sales and comps were primarily due to a 7% decline in traffic at the company’s comparable stores in the third quarter, especially in February when traffic trends were mostly negative. As of Apr 6, 2013, the company registered 6.8% growth in average inventory per square foot.

We believe that the company’s sustained focus on the development of a multi-channel retail format through the enhancement of its e-Commerce capabilities, along with expanding international business, will certainly help it combat waning retail sales.

Bebe Stores design, develop and produce a distinctive line of contemporary women's apparel and accessories. They market their products under the bebe, bebe moda and bbsp brand names through their retail stores located in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Simultaneously, other retailers posted comps results for March on Apr 11. March comps for other retailers like Ross Stores Inc. (ROST - Analyst Report) and Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST - Analyst Report) were up 2% and 4%, respectively, while comps at Gap Inc. (GPS - Analyst Report) declined 1%.

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