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Cyberian Outpost&#039s 1Q loss smaller than expected

Cyberian Outpost posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its first quarter Tuesday, losing $7.4 million, or $26 cents a share, on sales of $64.8 million.

First Call Corp. consensus predicted it would lose 30 cents a share in the quarter.

Ahead of the earnings report, Cyberian Outpost (Nasdaq: COOL) shares closed up 7/16 to 5 1/4.

The $64.8 million in sales were almost double the amount it recorded in the year-ago quarter when it lost $8.9 million, or 38 cents a share, on sales of $32.7 million.

It posted gross profit for the quarter of $8.5 million, a 150 percent jump from the $3.4 million it earned in the year-ago quarter.

In the quarter, it added more than 96,000 new customers, giving it a total of 725,000 customers. Repeat customer orders accounted for 58 percent of sales, up from 43 percent in the same period last year.

"We continue to have strong sales growth and strong margin growth, great repeat business, narrowing losses and we are moving toward profitability faster than anyone in our sector," said CEO Bob Bowman in a prepared release. "During this quarter we focused on acquiring the right customers at the right price. This focus allows us to marry the goals of fostering significant growth in our industry with acquiring the most profitable customers."

Last quarter, Cyberian Outpost checked in with a loss of $9.8 million, or 41 cents a share, on sales of $76.1 million.

First Call Corp. consensus predicts it will lose $1.15 a share in fiscal 2001.

Its shares moved as high as 15 15/16 in November before crashing down to a low of 3 5/8 in April.

Four of the six analysts tracking the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."