By  on November 9, 2006

NEW YORK — The news from Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. just keeps getting better.

The fashion house on Wednesday reported a 31.5 percent gain in net income in the second quarter ended Sept. 30 to $137 million, or $1.28 a diluted share, on a 13.6 percent increase in revenues to $1.17 billion. Polo also upped its full-year earnings guidance and said it was making a $9 million acquisition of its belts and small leather goods license.

Shares of the company soared on the quarterly report, jumping 6.4 percent to $76.12, which is a new 52-week high.

"We are one of the healthiest and fastest-growing fashion luxury businesses today," Ralph Lauren, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "The key to our continued success is our focus, whether it is product and/or how we operate our business. And our growth comes from our commitment to consistency that stays true to a single point of view.

"We are a very strong company that has been built on quality with a long-term view. It is never of the moment. We have built a powerful business because we are connected, in vision, in fashion and in how we run the company," Lauren added.

The results compare with net income of $104.2 million, or 97 cents, in the same year-ago period, and beat Wall Street estimates by 22 cents. Analysts were expecting earnings per share in the second quarter of $1.06. Revenues for the corresponding period a year earlier were $1.03 billion.

For the six months, net income gained 40.2 percent to $217.2 million, or $2.02 a share, from $154.9 million, or $1.46, last year. Revenues rose 19.2 percent to $2.12 billion from $1.78 billion, which included a 25.8 percent gain in wholesale sales to $1.15 billion and a 15.1 percent rise in retail sales to $856.7 million.

Wholesale sales increased 14.3 percent to $659.9 million from $577.5 million, while retail sales gained 14.8 percent to $444.6 million from $387.2 million. Excluding the effect of the company's Polo Jeans acquisition, wholesale revenues increased 6 percent. As for retail sales, comps rose 9.3 percent in the quarter. By segment, same-store sales increased 15.9 percent at Club Monaco stores, 9.6 percent at Ralph Lauren stores and 8.4 percent in its factory stores. Polo.com sales grew 35 percent versus a year ago.

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