Chico's 3rd-qtr profit up 57 pct on stronger sales

Chico's FAS 3rd-quarter profit soars 57 percent higher as sales strengthen, margins improve

Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- Chico's FAS Inc. reported Tuesday that its net income jumped 57 percent on strong sales and improved margins from its line of women's clothing stores.

The Fort Myers, Fla.-based company earned $41.7 million, or 25 cents per share, for the period that ended Oct. 27. That's compared with net income of $26.5 million, or 16 cents per share, in last year's third quarter. After adjusting for costs tied to its acquisition of Boston Proper, it earned 25 cents per share versus 18 cents per share last year.

Chico's total revenue increased 18 percent to $636.7 million from $538.5 million in last year's third quarter, as shoppers visited more often and spent more each trip.

The company runs 1,355 stores nationwide under the Chico's, White House ' Black Market, Soma Intimates and Boston Proper banners.

Chico's said revenue from its stores open at least a year, considered a key indicator of a retailer's financial performance as it strips away recently opened or closed stores, increased nearly 10 percent. The company attributed the gain to strong response to fall fashion and strength of its marketing.

The quarter's results beat market expectations. Analysts surveyed by FactSet, on average, were expecting the company to earn 22 cents per share on revenue of $635.6 million.

Chico's said it expects revenue of approximately $2.55 billion to $2.6 billion for the full year. Analysts had forecast $2.59 billion, on average.

Shares of Chico's increased 5 cents to $18.21 in midday trading. Its shares are nearing the upper end of its year-long trading ranges; its shares have traded between $9.57 and $19.76 in the past 52 weeks.

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