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Coldwater Surges

Shares rise 13% after an earnings beat.

Updated from May 29

Coldwater Creek

(CWTR)

surged 13% in heavy trading Wednesday after the apparel retailer put up a strong quarter and got an analyst upgrade.

Late Tuesday, the company posted first-quarter earnings that handily topped Wall Street's earnings forecasts, helped by a positive response to spring merchandise and cost controls. Early Wednesday, shares rose $2.81 to $23.71 after an upgrade by CL King and a boost in earnings targets at Goldman, which already rated the stock buy.

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The Sandpoint, Idaho-based company earned $12 million, or 13 cents a share, in the quarter, up from $11.6 million, or 12 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial projected earnings of 8 cents a share.

Sales increased 31% to $281.3 million. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, jumped 7.3%.

"The net sales and earnings performance for the first quarter was a result of solid response to our spring merchandise in combination with effective cost-control measures," Dennis Pence, Coldwater's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "We added new stores and gained additional market share during the period, despite the challenging traffic-related environment which continues to impact the women's specialty apparel sector."

The better-than-expected report contrasted with the company's results from the fourth quarter, when profit disappointed amid poor holiday traffic and markdowns to move merchandise.