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Retail apparel chain Express's Q4 gross margin expands
Mar '12
Express Inc, a specialty retail apparel chain operating more than 600 stores, announced its fourth quarter and full year 2011 financial results for the thirteen and fifty-two week periods ended January 28, 2012, which compares to the same periods ended January 29, 2011.

Michael Weiss, Express, Inc.'s Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer commented: "The positive momentum in our business continued in the fourth quarter and resulted in earnings at the high end of our guidance, capping off another strong year of growth at Express.

The fourth quarter included an 8% increase in net sales, a 5% increase in comparable sales, and a 70 basis point increase in gross margin, including an expansion in merchandise margin, further validating the strength of our Go-to-Market strategy and the continued momentum of our four growth pillars. In 2011, we achieved, and at times surpassed, the goals we set at the beginning of the year."

"The year saw the opening of 27 new stores, including our initial entry into the Canadian market. For 2011, comparable sales grew 6%, as we increased sales productivity, continued strong momentum in e-commerce, and capitalized on new opportunities to further elevate our brand as a fashion authority for our demographic."

"To that end, during the year we introduced an updated store design with performance that exceeded our expectations and expanded the product categories we offer, introducing men's watches, diversified personal care, and expanded footwear."

"In addition, we increased the connection with our customers by showcasing our image and product in expanded fall and holiday catalogs and through our new customer loyalty program pilot."

"Finally, we utilized our strong cash position to reduce long term debt while continuing to invest in talent and infrastructure, including international resources, to support growth. I am very pleased with our performance this year and equally excited about our outlook as we begin 2012."

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Express Inc

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