Hering Falls Most Since ‘09 as Sales Drop in Fourth Quarter

Cia. Hering, Brazil’s third-biggest apparel retailer by market value, plunged the most since June 2009 as sales retreated in the fourth quarter.

Hering slumped 12 percent to 38.35 reais at the close of trading in Sao Paulo, the lowest price since July 26. The benchmark Bovespa index rose 0.2 percent.

Sales at stores open at least a year dropped 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 from a year earlier, Hering said in a regulatory filing late yesterday.

“The slightly negative sales at same stores are disappointing,” Juliana Rozenbaum, an analyst at the investment bank Itau BBA, wrote in a note to clients published yesterday. “According to management, both same-store sales and sales to multi-brand stores were below expectations due to a combination of mild demand and limited product availability, because the company was unable to increase production enough to meet Christmas demand.”

Hering’s total sales grew 11 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, according to yesterday’s filing, in which the company said its performance has improved “but is still below potential.” Earnings will be released Feb. 21.

Hering gained 29 percent in 2012, compared with the Bovespa’s 7.4 advance.