Bolstered by a same-store sales gain of 10.7 percent and a total sales increase of 43.3 percent, Zumiez Inc. posted third-quarter earnings that climbed 29.3 percent. The retailer also said it can grow the store base to at least 800 units.

Net income for the period ended Oct. 28 increased to $6.8 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, from $5.3 million, or 18 cents, in the prior year on sales that swelled to $82.3 million from $57.4 million.

Rick Brooks, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement that the retailer is "pleased with our third-quarter results and the earnings growth driven by our team year-to-date."

He said during the quarter, Zumiez opened 12 stores and "remains on track to open 42 new stores in fiscal 2006, in addition to the 19 Fast Forward stores acquired in the second quarter.

"While we are proud of our accomplishments so far this year, we believe we are still in the early stages of our growth potential, and we continue to strive to improve the store experience for our customers," the ceo added. "We had 233 stores at quarter end, and believe we can eventually operate 800 stores in the U.S. In fiscal 2007, we plan to open 50 new stores, consistent with our long-term goal of expanding square footage by 20 to 25 percent annually."

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