WARRENDALE, Pa., June 5, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- rue21, inc. (Nasdaq:RUE) today announced its financial results for the first quarter ended May 4, 2013. First Quarter Summary: For the first quarter of fiscal 2013, net sales increased 9.1% to $224.4 million from $205.6 million a year ago, including a comparable store sales decrease for the quarter of 4.6% following a 1.7% increase in the first quarter of fiscal 2012. The Company opened 41 new stores in the first quarter of fiscal 2013 compared to 40 new stores in the first quarter of fiscal 2012. Gross profit increased by $10.0 million in the first quarter of 2013 to $89.7 million as compared to $79.7 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2012. Gross margin increased 120 bps to 40.0% for the quarter from 38.8% from the first quarter of fiscal 2012. Selling, general and administrative expense increased 18.4%, or $9.9 million, to $63.7 million in the first quarter of 2013 as compared to $53.8 million in the first quarter of 2012. As a percentage of net sales, selling, general and administrative expense increased to 28.4% in the first quarter of 2013 as compared to 26.2% in the first quarter of 2012. The increase was primarily due to deleveraging of store payroll, stock compensation expenses, and e-commerce expenses. E-commerce start-up costs related to planning and designing the e-commerce business, which is expected to begin operations by the end of the year, were $0.7 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2013. Net income decreased 6.9%, or $0.8 million, to $10.8 million for the first quarter, and diluted earnings per share were $0.44 compared to earnings per share of $0.46 in the first quarter of 2012. Bob Fisch, rue21's President and CEO, stated: "Despite a challenging environment which impacted our first quarter financial results, we are proud to have achieved another 41 successful new store openings, gross margin expansion of 120 basis points, and an increase in gross profit. We also feel positive about the continued progress we made this past quarter on our long term goals, which include opening profitable new stores in underserved markets and moving up the launch of our e-commerce site to the fourth quarter. We are confident that going forward we will be able to continue to produce the consistent productivity and profitability gains that our team is so proud to have delivered over the past 10 years."