UPDATE 2-Carter's sees lower Q1 profit; shares tumble

miércoles 27 de febrero de 2008 19:59 CET

(Adds details, analysts' comments)

By Aditi Samajpati

BANGALORE Feb 27 (Reuters) - Children's clothing retailer Carter's Inc (CRI.N: Cotización) said it expects lower first-quarter earnings on continued weakness in its OshKosh retail stores, triggering a 23 percent fall in its shares.

Consumer sentiment faltered over the fourth quarter, and the company said its own expectations for 2008 are muted as all of its customers, such as department stores and apparel retailers, have warned of a weak year ahead.

"This is a tougher market than I remember and it's $101 for a barrel of oil and the mortgage rates are very difficult and it's an election year," Chief Executive Fred Rowan said in a conference call.

Carter's sees low single-digit growth in 2008, and said performance in the first two quarters will be weaker than planned, due to spring line cancellations and lower re-orders expected from department stores.

The Atlanta-based company sees most of the growth to come in the second half of 2008 and earnings for the fiscal to be flat year-over-year.

Carter's, which posted disappointing fourth-quarter profits on Tuesday, said difficult business conditions would continue and sales will be flat in the first quarter.

The company had earned 16 cents a share on revenue of $320.1 million in the first quarter last year. On an adjusted basis, it had earned 22 cents a share.   Continuación...