MOTHERS WORK PROFIT RISES 8.4% IN QUARTER

NEW YORK — Mothers Work Inc., a retailer of maternity apparel, reported third-quarter earnings increased 8.4 percent to $3 million, or 72 cents a share, from $2.7 million, or 66 cents, for the year-ago quarter.
Net sales for the quarter ended June 30 were up 23.3 percent to $98.5 million from $79.9 million in last year’s quarter. A comparable-store sales increase of 7.7 percent fueled the increase.
The Philadelphia-based company has 587 stores and 96 leased departments operating primarily under the trade names Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod, and Mimi Maternity. Rebecca Matthias, president and chief operating officer of Mothers Work, told WWD that the strong comparable-store sales were due, in part, to “very aggressive pricing, key market features and new categories,” including plus sizes, in the Motherhood Maternity brand.
Designer labels Lilly Pulitzer and Nicole Miller have also been added to the Pea in the Pod platform. According to Matthias, the company’s hefty U.S. market share in maternity apparel gave them the size necessary to introduce these labels into the maternity market on an exclusive basis.
For the nine months, earnings rose 28.9 percent to $4.9 million, or $1.06 a share, from $3.8 million, or 78 cents, in the 1999 period.
Net sales rose 22.8 percent during the first nine months to $274 million, up from $223.1 million the previous year. Comparable-store sales increased 8.8 percent.

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