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KappAhl Falls as Same-Store Sales Decrease: Stockholm Mover

KappAhl AB, Sweden’s second-largest listed clothes retailer, fell the most in over two months in Stockholm after saying sales in comparable stores declined during December and January.

The share fell as much as 9.1 percent, the biggest decline since Dec. 9. It traded 6.5 percent, or 0.50 krona, lower at 7.20 kronor as of 11:05 a.m. local time. Before today, KappAhl shares had gained 25 percent this year after losing 77 percent of their value in 2011.

Sales in stores open at least a year declined 8 percent in December-January, compared with the same period last year, the Molndal, Sweden-based retailer said today in a statement. KappAhl, which primarily targets clients who are mothers and are shopping also for their children and partners, said the gross margin declined 5 percentage points in the period. Sales declined 14 percent in the fiscal first quarter that ended Nov. 30.

“It has been a lot about the women’s range not having attracted our customers as it should and an adjustment is being phased in,” Chief Executive Officer Johan Aberg said. “At the same time, we see that the drop in revenue slowly declines.”

The company has postponed plans to open stores in Austria as it focuses on profitability in existing markets and said expansion this year and next will be slower than the as many as 25 new outlets annually that are its target. KappAhl will book costs, mainly related to impairment of fixed assets, of as much as 100 million kronor in the second quarter.

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