Chico’s 1Q Sales Disappoint But Profit Climbs

Shares of Chico’s (NYSE:CHS) tumbled Wednesday after the company revealed weaker-than-expected first-quarter sales, though its profit ticked higher on improved margins.

Revenue for the three months ended April 30 was $537.2 million, up 11.5% from $481.6 million a year ago, short of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of $544.4 million.

The higher revenues coupled with tighter expenses led the Fort Myers, Fla.-based specialty retailer to post net income of $45.9 million, or 26 cents a share, compared with $35.4 million, or 20 cents a share, in the same quarter last year, beating the Street’s view by a penny.

The Chico’s and Soma Intimates brands’ comparable sales were up 7.8% and 16.1%, respectively, while its White House and Black Market segments climbed 7.4% and 15.7%, respectively.

During the quarter, Chico’s repurchased 2.6 million of its shares of $36.3 million. It has $145.4 million remaining under the original $200 million authorization approved in August 2010.