And with that, I will turn it over to Dave.
Great. Thanks Todd and good morning everyone. I’m delighted to announce our terrific second quarter results. We delivered record second quarter sales and the highest second quarter earnings per share in the Company’s history. All in all, we beat our expectations for the quarter. Earnings per share – up 28% on top of a 47% increase last year. Comparable sales – up 5.6% for a two-year stack of 18.4%. Gross margin – up 30 basis points on top of 40 basis points last year. SG&A – leverage of 60 basis points on top of 190 basis point leverage last year, and inventories down 6%, excluding Boston Proper.
Our unique trend right merchandise and innovative marketing drove significant achievements in the second quarter, including a double-digit increase in new customers, a higher penetration of full-price sales, and increases in both average dollar sales and transactions. These results demonstrate superb team execution. We delivered another quarter of strong growth in 2012 against our toughest quarterly comparison from last year in a much more challenging economic environment.
After adding up the record results for both first and second quarters, I’m pleased to see that we’re updating our planning assumptions for fiscal 2012, which Pam will review with you shortly.
Today with these consolidated results as a backdrop, I’d like to take just a few minutes to highlights our successes by brand. Let’s start with Chico’s Soma. Comparable sales performance increased 7.2% on top of 11.9% last year for one of the industry’s leading two-year stacks of 19%. Turning to Chico’s, we’re clearly winning with color, print and pattern. Our compelling trend right merchandise drove strong sales and gross margin conversion as we successfully cycled last year’s results. Despite this year’s more promotional competitive environment, Chico’s experienced strong full-price selling.