For the second quarter, the Company reported net income of $53.4 million, an increase of 23% compared to net income of $43.4 million in last year's second quarter and record earnings per diluted share of $0.32, an increase of 28% compared to $0.25 per diluted share in last year's second quarter.
For the twenty-six weeks ended July 28, 2012, the Company reported record net income of $107.0 million, an increase of 20% compared to net income of $89.3 million in the same period last year and record earnings per diluted share of $0.64, an increase of 25% compared to $0.51 per diluted share in the same period last year.
For the second quarter, net sales were $641.7 million, an increase of 16.4% compared to $551.4 million in last year's second quarter, reflecting comparable sales growth of 5.6%, square footage increase of 7.4%, and sales for Boston Proper of $32.6 million. The 5.6% increase in comparable sales for the second quarter was on top of a 12.8% increase in last year's second quarter, for a two-year stack of 18.4%, and reflected increases in both average dollar sale and transaction count.
The Company's comparable sales growth primarily reflected the effectiveness of the Company's innovative marketing plans, a positive customer response to the Company's merchandise offering and new product launches.
The Chico's/Soma Intimates brands' comparable sales increased 7.2% on top of an 11.9% increase in last year's second quarter for a two-year stack of 19.1%, and the White House | Black Market ("WH|BM") brand's comparable sales increased 2.3% on top of a 14.9% increase in last year's second quarter for a two-year stack of 17.2%.
For the second quarter, gross margin was $362.2 million, an increase of 17.1% compared to $309.3 million in last year's second quarter. As a percentage of net sales, gross margin was 56.4%, a 30 basis point improvement from last year's second quarter, primarily reflecting increased full-price selling and effective promotional activities, partially offset by the inclusion of Boston Proper's results.
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
For the second quarter, selling, general and administrative expenses ("SG&A") were $276.1 million compared to $240.4 million in last year's second quarter. As a percentage of net sales, SG&A was 43.0%, a 60 basis point improvement from last year's second quarter, primarily reflecting the sales leverage impact on store expenses and the inclusion of Boston Proper's results.
At the end of the second quarter, total inventories were $191.7 million compared to $190.7 million in the second quarter last year. Excluding $12.6 million related to Boston Proper, inventories decreased by $11.6 million or 6.1%, reflecting planned inventory reductions.
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