Chico's climbs on 2Q results, outlook hike

Chico's hits 5-year high after posting 2Q results above Street expectations, upping outlook

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Chico's FAS Inc. reached their highest point in five years on Wednesday as the clothing company's second-quarter performance beat Wall Street's view and it raised its outlook for the year.

THE SPARK: Earlier in the day Chico's — whose brands include Soma Intimates, Boston Proper, White House Black Market and its namesake, reported that it earned 32 cents per share on revenue of $641.7 million for the period ended July 28. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of 30 cents per share on revenue of $640.4 million.

The retailer also raised its outlook, and now expects $2.55 billion to $2.6 billion in sales for the fiscal year. Wall Street was expecting $2.58 billion.

THE ANALYSIS: Randal Konik of Jefferies said Chico's had a strong quarter and long-term should benefit from new store openings across its brands. The analyst said in a client note that he's happy with the consistency the Fort Myers, Fla., company has shown over recent quarters and thinks management is doing well with its execution.

Konik kept a "Hold" rating and increased Chico's price target to $18 from $15.

Sterne, Agee & Leach's Margaret Whitfield said that Chico's brand portfolio gives the company strong revenue opportunities going forward. The analyst maintained a "Buy" rating and boosted its price target to $22 from $20.

SHARE ACTION: Chico's stock rose $1.15, or 6.7 percent, to $18.23 in afternoon trading. The shares reached $18.58 earlier in the session, the highest they've been since August 2007. The stock is up 51 percent for the year to date.

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