NEW YORK — Christopher & Banks Corp. succeeded where many of its brethren struggled in the first quarter, as it reported double-digit profit and sales growth.

For the three months ended May 31, the Minneapolis-based specialty chain said net income gained 14 percent to $11.1 million, or 44 cents a diluted share. By comparison, last year the company reported profits of $9.8 million, or 37 cents. Earnings per share beat the Wall Street consensus estimate by 2 cents.

Sales for the period rose by 20.1 percent, to $93.4 million from $77.8 million a year ago, but same-store sales ticked down 1 percent during the quarter.

“Sales were driven by woven tops and bottoms,” said chief operating officer Joseph Pennington on a conference call with analysts. “Denim shirts with novelty treatments were also strong. Dresses as a category continued to decline in importance as customers switched to skirts and capri pants.”

Also adding to the bottom line was a 40 basis point improvement in gross margin to 46.4 percent of sales, a company record, said chief executive Bill Prange in a statement.

C&B opened 34 stores during the quarter and another 10 in June, and remains on track to add 100 stores this year.

“As we move forward, we expect the retail climate will continue to be very challenging,” said Prange. “However, given our healthy financial position, aggressive new store growth and the strength and appeal of our brands, we believe we are well positioned to benefit from any improvement in economic conditions.”

With that, C&B said it expects June same-store sales to improve 1 to 2 percent, with low single-digit increases in second, third and fourth-quarter comps. Second-quarter profits are anticipated to grow modestly, while second-half diluted earnings per share are forecast to expand more than 20 percent, with the fourth quarter performing stronger than the third.

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