Byline: Dan Burrows

NEW YORK — Quiksilver Inc.’s earnings fell in the first quarter but the company managed to beat Wall Street estimates and its prior-year top-line performance.
For the three months ended Jan. 31, the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based youth activewear maker reported a 16.7 percent drop in net income to $3.1 million, or 13 cents a diluted share, from $3.7 million, or 16 cents, in the year-ago period.
Analysts had forecast earnings per share at 9 cents.
Sales for the quarter climbed 19.7 percent to $145.8 million from $121.8 million last year.
“We are pleased with our performance during the quarter, which exceeded expectations and gives us confidence that we are emerging from the recently challenging retail environment in an excellent position,” said chief executive officer Robert McKnight Jr. in a statement. “Our double-digit bookings growth is a reflection of the strength of our product line. Inventory growth was modest compared to the increase in sales in response to the weak economic environment”
Sales growth was partially fueled by Quiksilver’s launch of seven company-owned stores in the quarter, including Boardriders Clubs in the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Salt Lake City as well as Barcelona and Lisbon.
European sales growth outpaced domestic increases two-to-one with Europe growing 29.4 percent to $56 million, while U.S. sales rose 14.3 percent to $89.8 million.

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