FORT WAYNE, Ind., Jan. 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vera Bradley, Inc. (Nasdaq:VRA) today updated its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2013 guidance. For the fourth quarter, the Company expects net revenues to be in a range of $149 million to $154 million, compared to the prior range of $147 million to $152 million. Indirect net revenues are expected to grow in the low- to mid-single digits versus prior guidance of low-single digits and comparable store sales are expected to be flat compared to the prior year versus previous guidance of low-single digit growth, primarily due to lower-than-expected traffic during the holiday season.
Gross margin for the fourth quarter is expected to expand over the prior year by approximately 140 basis points compared to the prior expectation of 130 basis points. Diluted earnings per share are expected to be in a range of $0.56 to $0.58, compared to the prior expected range of $0.55 to $0.57. The earnings per share estimate continues to assume an effective tax rate of 38% and fully diluted weighted average shares outstanding of 40.6 million. Inventory growth expectations for the fourth quarter and first quarter of fiscal 2014 remain 10 to 20 percent above net revenue growth rates.
For fiscal 2013, the Company now expects net revenues to be in a range of $528 million to $533 million. Indirect net revenue growth is expected to be in the low-single digit range and comparable store sales growth is expected to be in the low-single digits. Gross margin is expected to grow by approximately 100 basis points over the prior fiscal year. As a result, diluted earnings per share for the full year are expected to be in a range of $1.64 to $1.66. The earnings per share estimate continues to assume an effective tax rate of 37.5% and fully diluted weighted average shares outstanding of 40.6 million.
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