Destination Maternity Corp. shares fell 17.7 percent following the Philadelphia retailer's Wednesday announcement of disappointing quarterly earnings.

The company reported a fiscal third-quarter profit of 40 cents per share, compared with 64 cents in the same period a year ago, and lower than its prior guidance of 53 cents to 62 cents.

Shares closed down $3.99 at $18.56.

Destination Maternity said on July 10 that it expected the quarterly to come in below the guidance range.

"We are very disappointed in our sales and earnings results for the third quarter," Ed Krell, chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement.

Net income for the latest quarter, ending June 30, was $5.5 million, compared to $8.6 million a year earlier.

Sales for the quarter fell 5.5 percent, to $134.0 million from $141.9 million in the year-ago quarter. The decrease reflected declines in sales at stores open at least one year and decreased sales relating to the company's "continued efforts to close underperforming stores," the company said.

The store count fell from 606 a year ago, to 575 as of June 30.

The company is in the process of moving headquarters and operations from Philadelphia to Moorestown and Florence, N.J.

The company said it incurred charges of $1.2 million in connection with its withdrawn bid to acquire U.K.-based Mothercare P.L.C.