By  on April 30, 2010

Sally Beauty Holdings Inc.’s profits jumped 40.5 percent in the second quarter ended March 31 as sales increased 12.3 percent, the firm reported Thursday.

Net earnings came in at $34.6 million, or 19 cents a diluted share, compared with $24.6 million, or 13 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. On average, Wall Street analysts polled by Yahoo Finance had expected EPS of 16 cents.

Quarterly sales, which benefited $11.6 million from foreign currency exchange, reached $720.5 million, from $641.5 million a year ago. Comparable-store sales at the firm, which operates the Sally Beauty Supply and Beauty Systems Group beauty supply chains, increased 4.8 percent during the second quarter, compared with a 2.1 percent rise in comps in the year-ago period.

Comps grew 4.3 percent at the 2,946-store Sally Beauty Supply chain, which, aided by new stores, acquisitions and improved international business, rang up a 10 percent overall sales increase to $453.6 million

At the 1,007-unit BSG chain, whose stores are branded as CosmoProf and Armstrong McCall, comps grew 6.1 percent. The subsidiary recorded a 16.4 percent increase in sales to $266.8 million, driven by store openings, acquisitions and improved performance in the direct sales consulting business.

“We had an exceptional second quarter and strong year-to-date results across both business segments and paid down $50 million of debt,” stated Gary Winterhalter, president and chief executive officer. “As we head into the second half of the fiscal year we believe the key drivers of our strong performance will continue.”

Year-to-date profits rose 49.3 percent to $60.7 million, or 33 cents a share, from $40.7 million, or 22 cents, in the first six months of 2009. Sales grew 10.7 percent to $1.43 billion from $1.29 billion in the same period.

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