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updated: 8/14/2012 11:46 AM

Saks posts second-quarter loss on charges

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Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Saks Inc. saw its loss widen in the second quarter from a year ago, as results were dragged down by charges related to closing stores and opening a fulfillment center in Tennessee. But the luxury department store chain reiterated its sales forecast for the second half of the year, underscoring how wealthy shoppers are proving to be resilient in a yo-yo economy.

Like many high-end retailers, Saks has seen its affluent shoppers return to spending freely on status goods since the recession. But the volatility in the stock market and the financial crisis in Europe are creating some challenges for Saks. Earlier in the spring, Saks had to step up discounting, but the latest results show solid spending by its wealthy clientele.

"While the overall near-term macro environment remains uncertain, we are very excited about the future of Saks and our ability to generate continued growth," said Stephen I. Sadove, chairman and CEO of Saks, in statement. "We remain focused on executing our core merchandising, service, and marketing strategies."

The New York company said Tuesday it lost $12.3 million, or 8 cents per share, for the three-month period ended July 28. That compares with $8.37 million, or 5 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding charges, Saks lost 5 cents per share in the latest quarter.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $704.1 million.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected a loss of 9 cents on revenue of $704.9 million, on average.

Revenue at stores opened at least a year rose 4.7 percent for the quarter. It's considered a key measure for gauging retailers' health because it excludes the impact of stores that have opened or closed in the past 12 months.

The company said it continues to believe that revenue at stores opened at least a year should be up in the mid-single digits for the second half of the year.

In morning trading, shares of Saks rose more than 5 percent, or 57 cents, to $11.42.

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