DETROIT (Reuters) - Women's clothing retailer AnnTaylor Stores Corp <ANN.N> posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on strong demand and forecast growth in the holiday quarter, sending shares up more than 10 percent.
Like other chains that cater to women over 35, such as Talbots Inc <TLB.N> and Chico's FAS Inc <CHS.N>, Ann Taylor is working to freshen up its fashions and has begun turning around its fortunes after struggling with weak sales for several quarters.
"While we anticipate a promotional environment in the upcoming months, we feel good about our overall business as we enter the fourth quarter," Chief Executive Kay Krill said in a statement.
Net income surged to $24.2 million, or 41 cents per share, in the third quarter ended October 30, compared with $2.1 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, it earned 42 cents a share, beating analysts' expectations as polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S by 8 cents.
Total sales rose 9.3 percent to $505.3 million, above analysts' expectations of $492.8 million.
Same-store sales increased 11.7 percent overall, with a 21.9 percent rise at the Ann Taylor brand and a 4.5 percent increase at the more casual and less expensive LOFT chain.
The company forecast total sales in the fourth quarter approaching $500 million and a mid- to high-single-digit percentage increase in comparable sales in the period, which includes the holidays.
It expects double-digit same-store sales growth at the namesake brand and low single-digit growth at LOFT.
For the full fiscal year, the company expects net sales approaching $1.97 billion and positive same-store sales growth at both brands.
Analysts were expecting sales of $495 million in the fourth quarter and $1.95 billion for the year.
Shares rose 10.2 percent in premarket trading to $26.18.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit, additional reporting by Phil Wahba in New York, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Dave Zimmerman)