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Vera Bradley beats in 3Q, outlook weak

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) -- Vera Bradley Inc. shares dropped in after-hours trading Wednesday after the accessories maker issued a disappointing forecast.

The Indiana-based maker of distinctively patterned bags and totes reported after the market closed that it earned $17.7 million, or 44 cents per share, in its fiscal third quarter that ended Oct. 27. That compares with $13 million, or 32 cents per share, in the third quarter last year.

Revenue rose 14 percent to $138.3 million on stronger sales in stores, online and through other retailers

The results beat market expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 38 cents per share on revenue of $135.2 million.

CEO Michael Ray said the company is optimistic about its long-term prospects.

However, the company forecast earnings of 55 to 57 cents per share for its fourth quarter on revenue of $147 million to $152 million. Analysts expected 60 cents per share on revenue of $159 million.

Vera Bradley also said it expects to earn $1.63 to $1.65 per share for its 2013 fiscal year on revenue between $526 million to $531 million. Analysts forecast earnings of $1.62 per share on sales of $534.7 million.

Shares fell $2.31, or 8.8 percent, to $23.90 in after-hours trading. The company's stock dropped 4 percent in regular trading to close at $26.21.