Aeropostale, American Eagle Flying High

New York City, Shares of Aeropostale Inc. hit a new 52-week high Thursday after the teen apparel retailer said December comp-store sales came in slightly higher than analysts expected, and raised its fourth-quarter profit outlook. The company said comp-store sales rose 1.7% in December, while analysts polled by Thomson Financial predicted a gain of 1.3%.

The company also raised fourth-quarter profit estimates to between 98? and $1 per share, or 91? to 93? per share excluding a concession from South Bay Apparel Inc. Previously, the company said it expected earnings between 89? and 91? excluding the benefit. Analysts forecast profit of 91? per share, on average.

American Eagle saw its same-store sales jump 13% in December. Sales rose to $552.4 million from $435.5 million in the year-ago period.

The company is raising its fourth-quarter earnings guidance to $0.64 to $0.65 per share compared to $0.47 per share last year, which represents a 36% to 37% growth over last year. Previous fourth-quarter guidance was $0.63 to $0.64 per share.

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