American Eagle Outfitters Inc. raised its first-quarter guidance Wednesday, citing better sales and fewer promotions.

This story first appeared in the May 3, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The teen retailer increased its profit projection to a range of 18 cents to 20 cents a diluted share, from between 8 cents and 10 cents a share. Investors applauded the news, driving the stock up 16.7 percent to $20.88.

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The retailer, which will report first-quarter results May 23, said net sales for the three months grew 18 percent to $719 million compared with $610 million last year. Same-store sales jumped 17 percent, which includes direct sales.

“The team delivered on our near-term priorities of driving a competitive top line and improving margins. We experienced broad-based strength in our spring merchandise selling, which enabled us to pull back on full-scale promotional plans,” said chief executive officer Robert Hanson. “Looking ahead, our larger goal is to build upon our capabilities to deliver consistent profitable growth.”

For fiscal 2012, the company anticipates earnings per share of between $1.06 and $1.12 a diluted share, which assumes comp-sales growth in the low- to midsingle-digit range.

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