Pacific Sunwear's


second-quarter earnings shot up a better-than-expected 44% from a year ago, and the teen clothing retailer backed second-half earnings guidance that is slightly above the Thomson First Call consensus.

The Anaheim, Calif., specialty chain earned $19.3 million, or 25 cents a share, in the three months to July 31, up from earnings of $13.4 million, or 17 cents a share, last year. Overall sales rose 17% from a year ago to $274.8 million, while same-store sales posted a 6.8% increase.

Analysts had been forecasting earnings of 23 cents a share on revenue of $276.4 million in the latest quarter. Looking ahead, Pacific Sunwear said it expects to earn 39 cents in the third quarter and 52 cents a share in the fourth quarter, with same-store sales rising 5% from a year ago in both periods. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been forecasting earnings of 38 cents a share in the third quarter and 51 cents a share in the fourth quarter.

Pacific Sunwear said second-quarter operating margins were 11.2% this year compared with 9.2% last year. By segment, same-store sales rose 3% at the company's d.e.m.o. segment and 7.2% at its PacSun division.

In a separate release, the company said it bought back a total of 1.29 million shares in the second quarter at an average price of $19.26 a share. The stock recently traded for $19.19 in the Instinet after-hours session after closing at $18.30 in regular trading, down 10 cents, or 0.5%.