Maidenform Brands Inc. raised its full-year guidance after reporting better-than-expected first-quarter profit as demand for its shapewear products increased along with its volume in the mass merchandising sector.

This story first appeared in the May 14, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

After reporting essentially flat earnings of $6 million, or 26 cents a diluted share, for the period ended April 4, the intimate apparel maker saw its stock jump 39 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $12.50 Wednesday, one of the few gainers in the apparel sector during a tough trading session.

Net sales grew 16.4 percent to $114.2 million from $98.1 million as sales to mass merchants gained 29.7 percent to $39 million, offsetting an 8.9 percent decline to $44.1 million in department store sales.

Analysts polled by Yahoo anticipated EPS of 17 cents on sales of $104.8 million.

“The consumer is telling us that it is more about value than price,” chief executive officer Maurice Reznik said on the company earnings call. “Now more than ever, this formula is resonating with our customers and driving market share gains.”

The Iselin, N.J.-based firm said it expects second-quarter EPS between 21 and 25 cents, on sales that are flat to up low-single digits. For the year, Maidenform anticipates earnings of $1 a share to $1.10 a share, up from prior guidance of 90 cents a share to $1 a share. Revenue is predicted to increase in the midsingle-digit percentage range for the period.

Analysts forecasted second-quarter EPS of 23 cents on sales of $105 million, and annual EPS of 91 cents a share on sales of just under $411 million.