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Egghead.com tops 4Q estimates

Egghead.com Inc. (Nasdaq: EGGS) posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its fourth quarter Wednesday, losing $38.9 million, or $1.05 a share, on sales of $146.1 million.

First Call consensus expected it to lose $1.10 a share in the quarter.

Egghead.com shares closed up 1 5/8 to 12 3/4 ahead of the earnings report.

The $146.1 million in sales marks a 45 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $12 million, or 36 cents a share, on sales of $100.9 million.

The $38.9 million loss does not include charges associated with its acquisition of OnSale Inc. (Nasdaq: ONSL).

"Revenues for the quarter showed a 45 percent increase over the same period last year, which exceeded our previous projections, while expenses were in line, resulting in a better bottom line performance than the analysts' expectations," said CEO Jerry Kaplan in a prepared release.

In the quarter, Egghead.com reported a total of 325,000 new customers registered to bid or buy and 321,000 unique buyers made and average of 2.8 purchase in the quarter.

Company officials said the 12-month average spending per customer rose to $811 compared with $765 in the previous quarter.

For the year, Egghead.com lost $155 million, or $2.04 a share, on sales of $514.8 million.

Its shares have struggled of late, falling to a low of 10 3/4 earlier this month after peaking at 47 1/2 in March.

Six of the eight analysts tracking the stock maintain a "hold" recommendation.

Analysts are expecting it to lose $1.88 a share in fiscal 2000.