Select Comfort Corporation (NASDAQ: SCSS) today reported third-quarter results for the period ended Sept. 29, 2012. Net sales for the quarter increased 24 percent to a third-quarter record of $247 million, compared to $200 million in the third quarter of 2011. Results were driven by company-controlled comparable sales growth of 21 percent. The company reported record third-quarter earnings per diluted share of $0.46, a 48 percent increase versus $0.31 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2011. “Customers continue to enthusiastically respond to the Sleep Number brand experience, including our proprietary products and exclusive store experience, which drove record third-quarter sales,” said Shelly Ibach, president and CEO, Select Comfort. “And the strength of our business model resulted in record operating margin as well as record earnings per share.” “In the fourth quarter, we’ll accelerate investments in our consumer-focused growth strategies to build brand awareness and advance product innovation while also developing markets with more convenient locations and enhanced store experiences,” continued Ibach. “We remain committed to our goal of delivering greater than 20 percent annual earnings-per-share growth while exceeding $1.5 billion in sales and 15 percent operating margin by 2015.” Third-quarter SummaryIn the third quarter, net sales increased by 24 percent as compared to the prior-year period. The increase was driven by company-controlled comparable sales growth of 21 percent, with average retail sales-per-comparable-store during the past 12 months reaching a record $2.1 million, a 31 percent increase over the prior-year period. The sales increase also was driven by 20 net new stores opened during the past 12 months, including 13 net new stores opened during the third quarter. There were 394 stores open as of Sept. 29, 2012. Operating income for the third quarter was $40.2 million, and operating margin during the quarter was 16.3 percent of net sales, a 300 basis-point improvement from 13.3 percent in 2011. Operating income and operating margin were both quarterly records for the company. The 300 basis-point operating margin growth was primarily driven by a 210 basis-point increase in gross-profit margin and a 90 basis-point improvement in the sales and marketing expense rate.