Better apparel sales helped both Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. and Target Corp. come in ahead of Wall Street expectations Wednesday.
 
Polo’s net more than doubled in its fourth quarter to $114.1 million, or $1.13 a share, from $44.5 million, or 44 cents a share, in 2009. Analysts polled by Yahoo Finance had expected earnings per share of 64 cents, on average. Revenues in the three months ended April 3 grew 9.2 percent to $1.33 billion from $1.22 billion a year ago.
 
Target grew its first quarter bottom line by 28.6 percent to $671 million, or 90 cents a diluted share, from $522 million, or 69 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Yahoo Finance had expected EPS of 87 cents, on average. For the three months ended May 1, the Minneapolis-based mass operator saw revenues increase 5.1 percent to $15.59 billion from $14.83 billion in the comparable period. The company said it saw better than expected sales of higher margin items, especially in apparel.

Specialty operator Chico’s FAS Inc. also reported better sales and a net that more that doubled. In the three months ended May 1, the Fort Myers, Fla.-based firm’s profits improved to $35.4 million, or 20 cents a share, from $14.5 million, or 8 cents a share a year ago. The company’s sales grew 17.2 percent to $481.6 million from $410.6 million.
 
For complete coverage, see Thursday’s WWD.

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