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WH|BM brand's comparable sales soar - Chico's FAS
19
Aug '11
Chico's FAS Inc announced its financial results for the fiscal 2011 second quarter and six months ended July 30, 2011.

Net Income and Earnings per Share
The Company reported an increase of 47% in earnings per share with net income totaling $43.4 million, or $0.25 per diluted share for the second quarter compared to net income of $30.5 million, or $0.17 per diluted share for the same period last year.

For the six months ended July 30, 2011, the Company reported an increase of 38% in earnings per share with net income totaling $89.3 million or $0.51 per diluted share, compared to net income of $65.9 million, or $0.37 per diluted share reported for the same period last year.

Net Sales
Net sales for the quarter increased 18.5% to $551.4 million from $465.4 million in last year's second quarter. Consolidated comparable sales increased 12.8% for the quarter following a 7.6% increase for the same period last year reflecting our compelling fashion offering and effective merchandising and marketing. The Chico's/Soma Intimates brands' comparable sales increased 11.9% following a 5.5% increase for the same period last year, and the White House | Black Market ("WH|BM") brand's comparable sales increased 14.9% following a 12.5% increase for the same period last year.

Gross Margin
Gross margin for the second quarter of $309.3 million, or 56.1% of net sales, represents a 40 basis point improvement over last year's second quarter driven by increased full-price selling partially offset by successful planned promotional activity.

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
Selling, general and administrative expenses for the second quarter of $240.4 million, or 43.6% of net sales, represents an improvement of 190 basis point over last year's second quarter due to the sales leverage impact on store personnel and occupancy costs, slightly offset by higher performance based compensation.

Inventories
For the total company, weeks of inventory supply on hand decreased approximately 4% compared to the prior year, reflecting initiatives to drive inventory productivity. While in-store inventories increased approximately $16.5 million over last year, or 8% per selling square foot, this increase is consistent with our mix of new store growth and sales trends. The balance of our inventories increased primarily due to timing of deliveries, planned net new third quarter store openings and our expanding DTC channel.

Share Repurchase Program
During the second quarter of 2011, the Company repurchased 4.3 million shares for $61.2 million and has $84.2 million remaining under the original $200 million authorization approved by the Board of Directors in August 2010.

The Company is a women's specialty retailer of private branded, sophisticated, casual-to-dressy clothing, intimates, complementary accessories, and other non-clothing gift items. The Company operates 1,221 specialty stores, including stores in 48 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Chico's FAS Inc

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