By  on November 7, 2005

NEW YORK — Polo Ralph Lauren keeps galloping along, and Wall Street likes what it sees.

Propelled by higher sales in its wholesale and retail businesses, the company's profits leapt 31.5 percent on total sales that increased 14.7 percent during the second quarter, easily beating analysts' estimates.

Roger Farah, president and chief operating officer, said the company isn't resting on its laurels.

"We believe that with the successes that we've had year to date, through the two quarters, which has been beyond our own expectations, that we can push harder in a variety of initiatives to help us long term," he said in an interview. "We'll be investing additional capital in growth initiatives."

Among the initiatives is an investment in the company's European operations, such as capital spending for a luxury showroom to follow the success of the Milan store, as well as to help elevate the brand further.

"Over the past few years, our sales have doubled and our profits have more than doubled," Ralph Lauren, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "Our focus on building new brands, such as Rugby, and luxury accessories, expanding our retail and extending our international business has proven to be the right investment for our company."

The designer and company founder said Polo Ralph Lauren continues to solidify its "leadership position as the largest luxury apparel company in the world."

The quarterly numbers sent shares of Polo up 5.1 percent to close at $54.80 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. In intraday trading, shares of Polo rose as high as $54.99, hitting a new 52-week high as 1.7 million shares changed hands, or almost twice the three-month average of 944,274 shares.

For the three months ended Oct. 1, net income was $104.2 million, or 97 cents a diluted share, compared with $79.3 million, or 77 cents, in the year-ago quarter. Total revenues rose to $1.03 billion from $895.6 million last year. The revenue gain included a 15.8 percent spike in sales to $964.7 million from $833.5 million, which included an increase of 14.9 percent in wholesale sales, to $577.6 million from $502.6 million, and a 17 percent rise in retail sales, to $387.2 million from $330.9 million. Earnings per share for the quarter beat Wall Street analyst estimates by 7 cents.

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