The Buckle Inc. continued its streak as one of the recession’s few bright spots Thursday by posting gains in first-quarter profits and sales and beating Wall Street expectations.

For the three months ended May 2, profits at the Kearney, Neb.-based mall retailer grew 43.5 percent to $26.9 million, or 58 cents a diluted share, from $18.7 million, or 40 cents a share, a year ago. Sales in the quarter rose 24.6 percent to $199.7 million from $160.3 million in 2008.

Comparable-store-sales grew 17.7 percent in the quarter, the company reported.

Analysts polled by Yahoo Finance expected earnings per share of 50 cents on revenues of $195.4 million on average.

For complete coverage, see Friday’s WWD.