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Q3 revenues leap 11% at American Eagle Outfitters
Dec '11
American Eagle Outfitters Inc. announced earnings for the third quarter ended October 29, 2011 of $0.27 per diluted share, compared to adjusted income from continuing operations of $0.29 per diluted share last year, which excludes a realized loss from the sale of investment securities of $0.12 per diluted share.

Jim O'Donnell, chief executive officer, said, I am encouraged by our progress in the third quarter and the continued momentum into the holiday season. Strong top line growth is evidence of the success of our key item strategy and merchandise improvements. Looking ahead to 2012, we have tremendous opportunity to capitalize on the strength of our brands and drive future profitable growth.

Third Quarter Results Continuing Operations
Total sales for the quarter increased 11% to $832 million, compared to $752 million last year. Third quarter comparable store sales increased 5%, compared to a 1% increase last year.

Gross profit was $309 million, or 37.1% as a rate to sales, compared to $312 million, or 41.6% as a rate to sales, last year. While merchandise profit dollars increased slightly due to stronger sales, higher cotton costs and markdowns pressured the merchandise margin, which decreased 480 basis points. Buying, occupancy and warehousing costs improved 30 basis points as a rate to sales, primarily due to top line growth driven by a 5% comparable store sales increase.

Selling, general and administrative expense increased 3% to $191 million due to higher sales, new store openings and a planned investment in advertising, partially offset by continued expense savings. SG&A improved 170 basis points to 22.9% as a rate to sales, compared to 24.6% last year.

Operating income for the quarter was $83 million, compared to $91 million last year.

AEO Direct
In the third quarter, online sales reached a record third quarter high increasing 21% due to increased traffic and conversion.

Total merchandise inventories at the end of the third quarter were $572 million, an increase of 35% on a cost per foot basis, compared to last year. Units per foot increased 20%, due to the company's key item strategy and planned expansion of accessory shops to 400 stores for the holiday season. The inventory position also reflects the impact of higher product costs.

Fourth quarter average weekly inventory levels are planned similar to third quarter to support peak holiday shopping periods during November and December. As we look forward to next year, we expect the inventory increase to moderate compared to the back half of 2011.

Capital Expenditures
For the third quarter, capital expenditures were $31 million, compared to $26 million last year. Of the third quarter capital expenditures, approximately $22 million related to new and remodeled stores. The balance of the capital expenditures related to distribution center, information technology and other home office projects. For Fiscal 2011, the company expects capital expenditures to be approximately $100 million, which includes the holiday accessory expansion initiative.

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