(By Balachander) Chico's FAS Inc. (NYSE:CHS) reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, helped by jump in sales and expansion of margins.
The women's specialty retailer earned $53.39 million or $0.32 per share for the second quarter, up from $43.39 million or $0.25 per share in the comparable period of last year.
Sales rose 16.4 percent percent to $642 million. Comparable store sales advanced 5.6 percent.
Wall Street analysts, on average, expected earnings of $0.30 per share on sales of $641.3 million.
Gross margin improved 30 basis points to 56.4 percent due ti an increase in full-price selling and effective promotional activities.
Looking ahead for the full year, Fort Myers, Florida-based Chico's now expects net sales of roughly $2.55 billion to $2.6 billion, versus prior view of $2.5 billion to $2.6 billion and analysts expect $2.58 billion. It currently projects flat gross margin, versus a drop of 50 basis points guided earlier.
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range of $9.57 to $17.08, closed at $17.08 on Tuesday.