NEW YORK — Youth-oriented specialty retailer Abercrombie & Fitch said Tuesday that new stores, margin protection and expense controls helped it lift its bottom line 8.7 percent during the third quarter.

The New Albany, Ohio, based retailer, which operates 560 A&F and Hollister stores, said for the three months ended Nov. 2, net income rose to $47.7 million, or 48 cents a diluted share, ahead of its expectations and 2 cents above already raised consensus estimates. In last year’s quarter, A&F reported income of $43.9 million, or 43 cents. Net sales increased 18.3 percent to $419.3 million from $354.5 million, but decreased 5 percent on a comparable-store basis, with women’s sales outperforming men’s. This quarter marks A&F’s 41st consecutive quarter of earnings growth.

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