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Bluefly disappoints in third quarter

Bluefly Inc. (Nasdaq: BFLY) missed analysts' estimates by a mile Wednesday, posting a loss of $3.3 million, or 71 cents a share, on sales of $873,000. Its shares closed up 13/16 to 10 3/4 ahead of the earnings report.

First Call consensus expected it to lose 41 cents a share in the quarter.

The $873,000 in sales was a marked improvement compared to the $4,000 in sales it recorded in the year-ago quarter. In that quarter, it lost $625,000, or 23 cents a share.

In the quarter, Bluefly grew its registered user base from 85,000 in the year-ago quarter to 190,000 users.

"We are extremely pleased with our third quarter results and the improvements we have made to our infrastructure and our merchandise selection over the past few months," said CEO Ken Seiff in a prepared release. "All of this was accomplished despite the seasonal slow down in traffic growth on the Internet during the summer months, transitional issues relating to the fulfillment center which resulted in certain lost sales and our decision to reduce significantly our print advertising in the third quarter while we prepared for the upcoming holiday season."

Bluefly shares moved up to a 52-week high of 24 1/2 in December after trading at 3 1/2 last November.

Both analysts following the stock maintain a "buy" rating.

First Call consensus expects it to lose $1.99 a share in the fiscal year.