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Francesca's (FRAN) Gains After Increased Q4 Forecast

 January 14, 2013 08:00 AM


(By Balachander) Francesca's Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: FRAN), which operates a chain of retail boutiques, lifted its forecast for the fourth quarter citing its holiday sales and margin performance.

Shares jumped 4.46 percent in Monday's premarket trading following the news.

The Houston, Texas-based company now expects earnings per share (EPS) in the range of 29 cents to 30 cents from prior expectations of 27 cents to 28 cents. Sales are now projected to be between $84.5 million and $85.0 million from $82.5 million to $83.5 million projected earlier.

Wall Street analysts, on average, expect EPS of 28 cents on sales growth of 36.80 percent to $84.32 million.

[Related -Stocks End Higher Before Payrolls Data; Verifone Systems Inc. (PAY) Sinks]

The company's guidance represents EPS growth of 45 percent to 50 percent on sales increase between 37 percent and 38 percent over the year-ago quarter.

Francesca's expects comparable boutique sales growth of 7 percent to 8 percent for the three month period.

"Our increased fourth quarter guidance reflects positive customer response to francesca's broad and shallow merchandising strategy and small format, differentiated boutique experience," commented CEO Neill Davis.

The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range of $20.93 to $37.09, ended at $28.23 on Friday.

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