Chico's Leads Women's Retailers - TheStreet

(Analyst commentary and stock price added.)



) -- It looks like


(CHS) - Get Report

is the first women's apparel retailer emerging from the recession, as it posted both a gain in third-quarter profit and sales today, easily surpassing Wall Street's estimates.

The news sent shares soaring 13% in morning trading to $15.22.

During the quarter, the company earned $22.7 million, or 13 cents a share, compared with $2 million, or a penny, in the year-ago period. Analysts expected Chico's to earn 7 cents a share.

Sales increased 13% to $446.9 million from $394.2 million, while same-store sales soared 13%. By division, comparable sales at Chico's/Sonoma intimates jumped 12% and rose 14% at White House/Black Market.

"We see a tale of two consumers in specialty, with retailers focusing on upper-middle income females having the opportunity to gain wallet-share given pent-up demand and greater comfort over personal wealth -- at least where fashion in right," UBS analyst Roxanne Meyer wrote in a note.

Shares of Chico's are soaring 10.5% to $14.90 in pre-market trading.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York

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