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Guess? Beats, Raises Targets

Guess? (GES) topped Wall Street's third-quarter targets and lifted its profit forecast for the year, as the retailer continues to be bolstered by strong sales both at home and abroad.

The fashion company also offered guidance for next year that surpasses analysts' average estimate.

For the third quarter, Guess? earned $58.3 million, or 62 cents a share, up from $44 million, or 48 cents a share, a year earlier. The results beat analysts' average forecast by a nickel, according to Thomson Financial.

Revenue increased 43% to $469.1 million from $328.8 million the prior year, easily exceeding analysts' target of $425 million.

At U.S. retail stores, sales rose 18% to $178.8 million, while same-store sales jumped 15.8%.

Guess? saw even bigger growth overseas. Revenue from its European segment soared 79% to $159.4 million. The company's wholesale segment -- which includes its Asian operations -- posted a 75% revenue rise to $76.9 million.

"We are encouraged by these results, especially in light of today's challenging retail environment," said CEO Paul Marciano. "I believe this success is due to the great product assortment developed by our teams of designers, merchants and licensees worldwide. Based on these results and our recent sales trends, we are confident that we continue to be well positioned for the holiday selling season."

For the year, Guess? now expects earnings of $1.93 to $1.96 a share, compared with its prior target of $1.85 to $1.90. Analysts, on average, anticipate earnings of $1.91 a share for the full fiscal year.

Guess? also said it expects earnings of $2.35 to $2.45 a share for the year ending in January 2009. That's above Wall Street's target of $2.29.

Shares of Guess? were adding $2.52, or 5.8%, to $46 in after-hours trading. The stock lost 5.6% in the regular trading session ahead of the release.

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