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iTurf tops 1Q estimates as sales nearly double

iTurf Inc. (Nasdaq: TURF) reported a loss of a penny a share Wednesday for its first quarter, as sales rose 97 percent to $2.6 million.

The First Call Corp. consensus estimate of four analysts had expected a loss of 11 cents a share for the April quarter.

The New York-based company is the online unit of young women's apparel retailer Delia's Inc. (Nasdaq: DLIA), which was spun off as an IPO in April, and is thus far is one of the year's worst performing offerings. ITurf, which has been stung by problems at Delia's, also maintains an online community for the so-called Generation Y, 10- to 24-year old "gURLs."

Revenue for the first quarter rose to $2.6 million from $69,000 in the same period last year. Gross profit for the quarter represented 49 percent of sales, or $1.3 million, or 49.1 percent of revenues, essentially unchanged from $34,000, or 49.3 percent of revenues in the year-ago period

ITurf lost $197,000, or a penny a share, wider than the $53,000 loss in the year-earlier period, which was a break-even quarter for the company on a per-share basis.

Traffic rose to 50 million page views for April, up 74 percent from January, when the iTurf sites attracted 29 million page views and up from four million views in April of last year. Unique visitors, the number of people that visit a site per month counted only once, rose to 731,000 in April, up from 635,000 unique visitors in February, the first month for which consolidated numbers were available, according to Media Metrix Inc. (Nasdaq: MMXI).

All this traffic translated into an 88.1 percent increase in online customers during the first quarter to approximately 66,000 from 35,000 at the end January.

iVillage Inc. (Nasdaq: IVIL), which has fallen 65 percent from its high at 130 on April 13, may have muddied the waters for Web communities that hope to tap into e-commerce. Online community Alloy Online Inc. (Nasdaq: ALOY), another Generation Y community, also has foundered since its initial offering last month.

Shares rose 1/8 to 19 3/4 on Tuesday.