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Ahead of the Bell: Guess in focus after 4Q report

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, March 15 2012 2:25 a.m. MDT

In this March 12, 2012 photo, a shopper carries bags of merchandise in Freeport, Maine. February retail sales rose 1.1 percent, biggest gain in 5 months, with autos showing strength.

Pat Wellenbach, Associated Press

Shares of Guess Inc. will be in focus on Thursday after the clothing designer and marketer reported a drop in fourth-quarter profit and issued a disappointing forecast for the year.

Guess, which designs, markets, distributes and licenses clothing and accessories, said it expects European consumers, particularly in the south, to be affected by nations' austerity plans unless something dramatic happens with credit, banking or consumer confidence there.

Late Wednesday the Los Angeles-based company said its quarterly earnings fell 7 percent to about $96 million, or $1.05 per share. Revenue rose less than 3 percent to $775.8 million as weaker sales growth in Europe and North America offset double-digit growth in Asia.

For the current quarter, the retailer expects to earn 25 cents to 28 cents per share on revenue of $560 million to $575 million. That's well below analysts' average estimate of 48 cents per share on $610.7 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

And for the fiscal year ending next February, the company forecast earnings per share of $2.50 to $2.65 and revenue between $2.74 billion and $2.78 billion. That is also well below the $3.21 per share on revenue of $2.84 billion that analysts have predicted.

Shares closed down 2 cents at $36.70 on Wednesday before the report, and fell more than 12 percent in aftermarket trading.

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