For the third quarter, the Company reported net income of $41.7 million, an increase of 57.4% compared to net income of $26.5 million in last year's third quarter, and earnings per diluted share of $0.25, an increase of 56.3% compared to $0.16 per diluted share in last year's third quarter.
Excluding non-recurring acquisition and integration costs related to the Boston Proper acquisition, the Company's third quarter earnings per diluted share were $0.25, an increase of 38.9% compared to $0.18 per diluted share in last year's third quarter. These results represent the highest third-quarter earnings per share since 2005.
For the thirty-nine weeks ended October 27, 2012, the Company reported net income of $148.7 million, an increase of 28.4% compared to net income of $115.8 million in the same period last year, and record earnings per diluted share of $0.89, an increase of 34.8% compared to $0.66 per diluted share in the same period last year.
Excluding non-recurring acquisition and integration costs related to the Boston Proper acquisition, the Company's earnings per diluted share for the thirty-nine weeks ended October 27, 2012 were a record $0.89, an increase of 30.9% compared to $0.68 per diluted share for the same period last year.
For the third quarter, net sales were $636.7 million, an increase of 18.2% compared to $538.5 million in last year's third quarter, reflecting comparable sales growth of 9.9%, square footage increase of 8.2%, and Boston Proper sales for seven incremental weeks of $16.7 million.
The 9.9% increase in comparable sales for the third quarter was on top of a 3.7% increase in last year's third quarter, for a two-year stack of 13.6%, and reflected increases in both average dollar sale and transaction count. The comparable sales growth primarily reflected a positive customer response to the fall fashion assortments and the effectiveness of the Company's innovative marketing plans.
The Chico's/Soma Intimates brands' comparable sales increased 11.6% following a 0.6% increase in last year's third quarter for a two-year stack of 12.2%, and the White House | Black Market ("WH|BM") brand's comparable sales increased 6.4% on top of an 11.0% increase in last year's third quarter for a two-year stack of 17.4%.
For the third quarter, gross margin was $364.3 million, an increase of 20.8% compared to $301.5 million in last year's third quarter. As a percentage of net sales, gross margin was 57.2%, a 120 basis point improvement from last year's third quarter, primarily reflecting a higher level of full-price selling and effective promotional activities, partially offset by incentive compensation.
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