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Teen retailer

Charlotte Russe

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nearly doubled its third-quarter earnings Thursday, easily surpassing analysts' estimates on solid demand for feminine clothing.

But the company said there is still work to be done to improve sales, although it guided fourth-quarter results essentially in line with analysts' projections.

Shares of Charlotte Russe were lately down 62 cents, or 3%, to $19.74.

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The company earned $5.5 million, or 23 cents a share, in the quarter ended June 26, up from $2.8 million, or 12 cents a share, a year ago. Results were above the Wall Street consensus for 19 cents a share.

Sales jumped 24% to $133 million, while quarterly same-store sales increased 7.1%. In the same quarter last year, same-store sales decreased 16.1%.

"The retail environment for our chains continues to improve, and our customer is gravitating toward more feminine and pretty fashion trends," the company said in a statement.

The company has been trying to rebound since last fall when its business was hurt by a weak fashion cycle, the wishy-washy economy and a decline in mall traffic. Negative same-store sales in that period reflected those challenges.

"While I am very pleased with the progress of our strategic direction, we must be patient and remember that much work is still required for our stores to perform closer to previous levels of productivity," said Chief Executive Mark Hoffman. "I would estimate that we are less than half way through this campaign, and I look forward to continued and measured improvement in both the merchandising and stores organizations."

The company said it needs to sell more regularly priced merchandise, especially in apparel during the back-to-school season, before concluding that its current merchandising initiatives are driving sales.

San Diego-based Charlotte Russe said it expects mid-single-digit positive same-store sales in the fourth quarter and earnings of 28 cents to 32 cents a share, compared with 24 cents a share last year. Analysts are calling for 31 cents a share.