(By Balachander) Destination Maternity Corp. (NASDAQ:DEST) forecasts earnings for the fourth quarter to exceed the top end of its guidance and to "significantly exceed" last year levels.
The maternity apparel retailer attributed the upbeat outlook to strong sales performance of its Fall 2012 merchandise assortments, "somewhat stronger" than planned gross margin, and tight management of expenses.
DEST had guided GAAP earnings per share (EPS) in the range of $0.17 to $0.28, compared with $0.20 per share posted in the same period of last year.
It posted a 0.7 percent drop in sales to $128.5 million on comparable sales growth 2.7 percent.
Wall Street analysts, on average, expect EPS of $0.24 on sales of $128.40 million.
For the year ended September 30, net sales declined 0.7 percent to $541.5 million and comps fell 0.3 percent.
As of September 30, 2012, DEST operated 625 stores, 1,383 leased department locations and 2,008 total retail locations, compared to 658 stores, 1,694 leased department locations and 2,352 total retail locations operated as of September 30, 2011.
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range of $13.51 to $22.52, closed at $18.33 on Monday.