Aeropostale Tops Views

Fourth-quarter earnings surge 37%.
Author:
Publish date:

Aeropostale

(ARO)

reported a 37% increase in fourth-quarter earnings, boosted by rising sales and a gain related to a payment from a vendor.

The New York-based teen-apparel retailer reported net income of $57.3 million, or $1.08 a share, up from $41.8 million, or 76 cents a share, a year earlier.

The results included a gain of $7.4 million, or 8 cents a share, from vendor South Bay Apparel related to prior purchases of merchandise. Excluding this item, the company would have earned $1 a share.

Earnings before the gain were above Aeropostale's February forecast of 98 cents to 99 cents -- a projection that was raised from an earlier view of 91 cents to 93 cents. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected earnings of 99 cents a share.

Total sales increased 16.5% to $506.8 million. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, increased 2.2%.

"We regained balance in our merchandise assortment, delivered excitement with our brand building initiatives and improved our planning processes," Julian Geiger, chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "As a result, we achieved double-digit annual sales growth and earnings per share growth in excess of 25% over the previous year."

For the first quarter, Aeropostale forecast earnings of 19 cents to 21 cents a share, in line with Wall Street's estimate of 20 cents. A year earlier, earnings were 15 cents a share.

For the full year, the company expects EPS growth of about 20%.

Aeropostale's board also approved a $100 million increase in the company's stock buyback program, boosting its total repurchase program to $350 million.

Last week, Aeropostale reported a 2.3% rise in February same-store sales and named retail veteran Mindy Meads as president and chief merchandising officer. Meads most recently served as president of Victoria's Secret Direct, a division of

Limited Brands

(LTD)

.

Shares were advancing 52 cents, or 1.3%, to $39.21 in recent after-hours trading.