NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Express (EXPR - Get Report) shares were surging 14% to $16.57 Wednesday following better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and sales. The specialty retail chain also increased earnings guidance for 2014, offering solace to investors who had watched the stock drop 22% this year before today.
The Columbus, Ohio-based company reported net income declined 60% to $6.9 million, or 8 cents a share, compared the second quarter of 2013. Net sales slipped 2% to $481.4 million. Analysts were expecting the company to break even on revenue of $457.1 million. Comparable sales for the period declined 5% compared to an expected 7.7% by analysts
Express reiterated its full-year comp guidance, but raised its EPS forecast for the year to a range of 85 cents to 95 cents a share compared to 74 cents to 90 cents a share previously forecasted. Analysts on average, according to Thomson Reuters, expect full year EPS of 81 cents a share.
"With 17 of our 20 Express Factory Outlet stores open for approximately four months, we are delighted to see them continuing to exceed our expectations from both a revenue and a margin contribution perspective," CEO Michael Weiss said in the earnings release. "In our full priced retail stores, we managed promotions in a manner that enabled us to deliver merchandise margins that were better than we initially expected. As new receipts flowed in during the second quarter, certain categories reversed their declines and others grew nicely.
"Looking ahead to the back half of the year, the opportunity remains to drive further sequential improvements in both sales and profits, while simultaneously continuing our disciplined approach to inventory units and input costs," Weiss continued.
Here's what analysts are saying about Express on Wednesday.
Roxanne Meyer, UBS (Neutral; $13 PT)
Despite what appeared to be very aggressive clearance levels in 2Q and into early 3Q, 2Q EPS beat on better metrics across the board with inventory levels healthy into 3Q. Implied 2H guidance remains unchanged and there is no update on Sycamore, which limits management in its ability to generate incremental shareholder value from financial engineering. In the meantime, better 2Q results should drive the stock higher today.