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Toys "R" Us, helped by stronger sales and lower overhead costs, saw its losses narrow in the third quarter, beating Wall Street projections. The 2 toy retailer reported a net loss of $28 million, or 13 cents per share, for the three months ended Nov. 2 compared with a net loss of $44 million, or 22 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expected a loss of 15 cents per share. The Paramus-based company said that despite a "very very tough" retail environment, it increased net sales by more than 4 percent, to $2.27 billion from $2.18 bil lion a year earlier. Sales edged up 1 percent to $1.24 billion in the company's key U.S. Toys "R" Us divi sion, but it still posted a $40 million operating loss. The international Toys "R" Us division and the Ba bies "R" Us unit posted double-digit revenue in creases and small operating profits., the division selling products online through the Ama Web site, posted a $12 million operating loss.

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