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Quarterdeck layoffs, losses loom

The utilities maker plans to cut its workforce, as it faces weaker-than-expected third-quarter revenues and a substantial operating loss.

Struggling utilities maker Quarterdeck today said it plans to cut its workforce, as it faces weaker-than-expected third-quarter revenues and a substantial operating loss.

Details on the number of layoffs that will be leveled at the 325-employee company, and on the size of the loss it will sustain, are not yet available, a company spokeswoman said.

Quarterdeck is expected to report its third-quarter results during the week of July 27. Although no there is no consensus of analysts' estimates available for the company's third-quarter earnings, the spokeswoman said that its financial performance would come in lower than what the company itself had expected.

The company cited a downturn in retail sales in the United States and Europe as the primary factor contributing to its operating loss and weak revenues, and said it would take a restructuring charge in the third quarter to account for the layoffs.

"Letting go talented and dedicated employees is extremely painful--for them, for their colleagues here, and for Quarterdeck," Curt Hessler, the company's president and CEO, said in a statement. "But the revenue picture across the retail software industry is currently very weak, and it is prudent for us to respond quickly, both by reducing our cost structure and by accelerating the planned movement of our core technologies into business markets."

Quarterdeck's announcement marks the second consecutive quarter in which the company said its results would fall short of its own expectations. During the second quarter, it attributed its poor performance to difficulties getting its products into foreign markets, lower-than-expected sales on its ViruSweep and REALHELP products, and costs associated with switching to an outside telemarketing firm.

The company's stock has tumbled from around $3 a share in late April to become a penny stock. Its shares began trading under $1 a share earlier this month, and last week hit a 52-week low, falling to 0.9375. The stock closed at the same price today, unchanged from yesterday.