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J. Crew Falls After Needham Lowers Profit Estimates

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- J. Crew Group Inc. fell the most since August in New York trading after Needham & Co. cut profit estimates for the clothing retailer, saying increased promotions will lower earnings.

“The fall season has been difficult, due to warmer weather trends, increased promotional environment at the competition and a lack of dramatic fashion newness,” Christine Chen, a Needham analyst in San Francisco, wrote in a note to clients today. Second-half profit margins will be under pressure as the New York-based company increases promotions, she said.

Needham trimmed its profit estimates for the year that ends Jan. 31 to $2.25 a share, from $2.36, and for the following year to $2.48, from $2.54. Earnings estimates for the current and next quarters were reduced as well. Improved fashion and discounting at competitors also put pressure on J. Crew’s prices, said Chen, who recommends holding the company’s shares.

J. Crew dropped $1.76, or 5 percent, to $33.12 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The percentage decline was the largest since Aug. 27. The shares have fallen 26 percent this year.

The retailer now has a sale on its website with some items, such as a pink dress, discounted more than 70 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matt Townsend in New York at mtownsend9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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