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Rue21 profit up on stronger sales

WARRENDALE, Pa. (AP) -- Rue21 Inc.'s fourth-quarter net income increased 16 percent but the company's bottom line was weighed by $1.2 million in one-time professional fees.

The clothing retailer said after the market closed Thursday that it earned $15 million, or 62 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Feb. 2. That's compared to $12.9 million, or 52 cents per share, in the same quarter of the prior year. Excluding the non-recurring professional fees, it earned 65 cents per share in the most recent quarter.

Revenue increased 22 percent to $269.1 million from $219.9 million. Analysts polled by FactSet were anticipating non-adjusted earnings of 63 cents per share on revenue of $269.2 million for the period.

Its revenue from stores open at least a year increased 0.7 percent. This is considered a key indicator of financial performance as it strips away the impact of recently opened or closed stores.

Rue21, based in Warrendale, Pa., operates 900 stores across most of the U.S.

The company said that it expects to earn between $2.10 and $2.15 per share for its 2013 fiscal year, excluding a 10 cent-per-share cost for investments in its online sales business. Analysts were expecting $2.16 per share. It also said it expects its revenue from stores open at least a year to improve in a low single-digit percentage range.

The company forecast earnings per share between 47 and 50 cents per share for its first quarter, excluding a 2-cent-per share expense for e-commerce investments. Analysts had forecast earnings of 54 cents per share. It expects revenue from established stores to be slightly negative to slightly positive.

Shares of the company slipped 2 cents to $28.44 in after-hours trading following the report. Its stock fell 38 cents to close regular trading Thursday at $28.46, largely in line with broader market trends.