Pacific Sunwear ( PSUN) more than doubled its first-quarter profit on strong sales, the apparel chain reported on Monday.

In its quarter ended May 3, Pacific Sunwear earned $8 million, or 16 cents a share. That was up from the year-ago period, when the Anaheim, Calif.-based company earned $3.3 million, or 7 cents a share.

In the quarter, the company posted an increase of 13.1% in same-store sales, which compare like outlets open more than one year. Meanwhile, Pacific Sunwear's overall sales increased 22.6% to $198.3 million, as it grew its store base by nearly 60 outlets from the year-ago period.

The company's results topped Wall Street expectations. Analysts expected Pacific Sunwear would earn 14 cents a share on $194.24 million in sales.

In the second quarter, analysts have projected that Pacific Sunwear will earn 19 cents a share. On a conference call, company officials said they were "comfortable" with that estimate. Officials said they expect the company to post same-store sales growth of 6% in the second quarter.

Pacific Sunwear's bottom line in the first quarter was helped not only by its sales growth, but by holding expenses in check. The company's gross profit margin, which is the difference between what a company charges customers for its goods and what it pays vendors for them, increased 1.8 percentage points to 32.2% of sales.

The company's merchandise margins narrowed in the quarter by 20 basis points as a percentage of sales, as Pacific Sunwear discounted fall inventory to clear it out of stores, company officials said. But store occupancy and distribution costs declined in the quarter, benefiting from the strong same-store sales. That decline helped bring the company's overall top-line costs down as a portion of sales.

Operating expenses also declined as a portion of sales by 1.3 percentage points. A drop in store payroll and direct store costs as a percentage of sales helped drive operating expenses lower, officials said. Those declines also helped mask a 40 basis point increase in general and administrative costs that was related to a jump in bonus accruals, they said.

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