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Ralph Lauren's 3Q profit rises, beats forecasts

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ralph Lauren Corp. announced that third-quarter earnings that cover the crucial holiday season were up 9.7 percent as the upscale clothing company enjoyed strong sales across all its products.

It also raised its annual revenue outlook to the top end of its previous guidance.

The New York-based company said Wednesday it earned $237 million, or $2.57 per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 28. That compares with $216 million, or $2.31 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue — excluding results from its licensing business — rose 9.7 percent to $1.97 billion in the quarter. Including licensing revenue, it totaled $2.02 billion.

Analysts expected a profit of $2.51 per share on revenue of $2 billion, according to FactSet estimates.

The company also said that it expects revenue for its current fiscal year to grow 7 percent, which is at the high end of the previous 5 percent to 7 percent range.

Analysts expect revenue of $7.38 billion, which represents growth of 6.3 percent from last year's $6.94 billion.

Ralph Lauren also said that its board authorized an additional $500 million stock repurchase program. This amount is in addition to the $230 million available as part of a previously authorized stock repurchase program. That brings the total current authorizations to $730 million.

Ralph Lauren's shares slid nearly 3 percent, or $4.55, to $149.63 in late morning trading on the broader market dip.