NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Express Inc. (EXPR) - Get Report are higher by 8.30% to $18 in pre-market trading on Thursday morning, after the apparel and accessories retailer posted better than expected earnings results for the 2015 first quarter.

For the most recent quarter the company said its adjusted net earnings were 22 cents per diluted share on a 9% rise in net sales to $502.4 million.

Analysts were expecting Express to post earnings of 14 cents per share on revenue of $487.76 million for the quarter ended May 2015.

"2015 is off to a strong start. In the first quarter, comparable sales rose by 7% and our merchandise margin expanded by 200 basis points, driving earnings above our initial expectations. Our customers responded with enthusiasm to our assortment while we intensified our inventory discipline and scaled back our promotional activity," company CEO David Kornberg said in a statement.

"We also continued to execute against our growth pillars and our 2015 priorities. I am particularly pleased that the growth we delivered resulted from our balanced approach to running the business," Kornberg added.

Looking ahead, Express is guiding for full year earnings of $1.11 per share to $1.22 per share, above the $1.06 per share analysts are looking for.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates EXPRESS INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate EXPRESS INC (EXPR) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed-some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: EXPR Ratings Report

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