Shares of Perry Ellis International Inc. rose more than 8 percent Thursday after the Miami-based sportswear marketer beat first-quarter earnings expectations and increased its full-year guidance.

In the three months ended May 2, the company compiled net income of $9.4 million, or 62 cents, 21 percent above the $7.8 million, or 52 cents, reported in the first quarter of 2014.

Excluding the costs of exiting numerous brands and other special items, adjusted earnings per shares was 99 cents, 36 cents above the 63-cent figure expected, on average, by analysts.

Sales were up 3.3 percent, to $258.3 million, and royalties ahead 10.3 percent, to $8.2 million, putting revenues for the quarter at $266.4 million, 3.5 percent above the $257.3 million recorded in last year’s quarter. The analysts’ consensus estimate was for revenues of $263.6 million.

Gross margin slipped to 33.8 percent of revenues from 34.1 percent a year ago, but rose to 34.9 percent from 34.1 percent with the exclusion of special items.

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The company, which in recent weeks has been confronted by a proxy battle from shareholders Legion Partners Holdings LLC and the California State Teacher’s Retirement System, took the strong performance during the quarter as an indication that the changes it’s made in the past are bearing fruit.

“As you heard today, we’re back on track for the future,” George Feldenkreis, chairman and chief executive officer, said as he closed the company’s conference call Thursday.

The company reiterated that its strategy would continue to focus on the development of its direct-to-consumer, international and licensing businesses. Anita Britt, chief financial officer, said DTC represented 10 percent of revenues now but was expected to grow to “closer to 14 percent” in the next three to four years. This year, she said, the company will concentrate on improving the profitability of existing stores rather than on the opening of new ones.

Oscar Feldenkreis, president and chief operating officer, noted that comparable sales grew 4.5 percent during the first quarter and that its own stores were faring well in the second quarter.

“Our retail business is seeing comps up because we were late getting goods into the stores because of the ports disruption,” he said on the call. “We were about three weeks late getting goods into our own DTC for the consumer. We’re starting to see a lot of benefits now that the inventory, the new receipts, are up to par this season.”

Oscar Feldenkreis also noted that the arrival of more seasonal weather in the U.S. had helped its linen business, a major component of its Perry Ellis collection.

“It’s nice and hot across the country,” he said, “and that opens the opportunity even further for linen fabric.”

The company lifted its full-year earnings guidance to a range of $1.68 to $1.75 a diluted share, up from previous guidance of between $1.45 and $1.55. The firm stuck by its earlier revenue guidance of between $925 million and $935 million.

Shares closed at $26.08, up 8.5 percent on the day. In morning trading, they peaked at $27, a 52-week high.

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