(By Balaseshan) Specialty retailer Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN) reported a 17.4% jump in quarterly earnings on strong comparable store sales and higher revenue. Yet earnings missed Street's expectations, sending its shares down 5.45% in aftermarket.
Earnings for the third quarter were $59.52 million or $0.40 per share, up from $50.68 million or $0.33 per share last year.
Sales increased 14% to $692.89 million. Comparable retail segment net sales, which include comparable direct-to-consumer channel, increased 8% for the quarter, while comparable store net sales decreased 1%.
Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a profit of $0.41 per share on revenue of $692.38 million for the third quarter.
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Comparable retail segment net sales at Free People, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie increased 24%, 7% and 6%, respectively. Direct-to-Consumer net sales increased 36% and wholesale segment net sales rose 7% for the quarter.
Sales from Urban Outfitters brand grew 14% to $331.85 million, while Anthropologie sales rose 9.3% to $266.89 million. Free People sales jumped 24.8% to $87.49 million, while other sales climbed 42% to $6.67 million.
Gross margin improved 222 basis points to 37.6%, primarily due to a reduction in merchandise markdowns.
As of October 31, 2012, total inventories increased by $28 million or 8%, primarily related to the acquisition of inventory to stock new and non-comparable stores and to support the significant growth in the direct-to-consumer channel, partially offset by a 6% decrease in comparable store inventories.
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URBN closed Monday's regular session up 5.76% at $37.07. The stock has been trading between $23.42 and $40.65 for the past 52 weeks.