FINANCE

American Eagle raises view after strong third quarter

BY Marianne Wilson

Pittsburgh — American Eagle Outfitters Inc. on Wednesday reported a higher-than-expected third-quarter profit, helped by strong same-store sales. The chain also raised its full-year earnings prompting it to raise its full-year forecast for the second time this year.

Net income for the quarter ended Oct. 27 rose to $78.6 million, from $52.4 million a year ago.

Sales rose 11% to $910 million. Same-store sales jumped 10%.

“Our third quarter reflected on-going business momentum, profitable sales growth, and a leading brand and product driven customer experience. We’re also pleased to see business strength carry into the fourth quarter and record results over Thanksgiving weekend,” said Robert Hanson, CEO.

In the third quarter, online sales increased 27%, compared with a 21% increase last year. Total merchandise inventories at the end of the third quarter were $481 million compared to $555 million last year.

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FINANCE

Ann Inc. Q3 same-store sales up 5.5%; raises full-year outlook

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Ann Inc. on Wednesday reported net income was $40.7 million in the third quarter of 2012, versus $32.3 million in third quarter 2011. The company also increased its outlook for the full year of fiscal 2012.

Total net sales for quarter were $612.5 million, compared $564.0 million in the year-ago period. By brand, net sales across all channels of the Ann Taylor brand totaled $244.6 million compared with net sales of $229.7 last year At the Loft brand, net sales across all channels were $368.0 million, compared with $334.3 million last year.

Total same-store sales for the quarter increased 5.5%.

“Among the highlights, in September we successfully launched the first phase of our multichannel initiative, which is off to a strong start and will provide meaningful opportunities to better leverage our inventory investment and maximize sales and gross margin,” said Kay Krill, president and CEO. “During the quarter, we also made our entry into Canada, opening our first store in Toronto in September, followed by two additional stores in November. The response has been outstanding, and we are very excited about the opportunities in this market. Overall, it was an excellent quarter for Ann Inc., and we have entered the fourth quarter in a strong position.”

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FINANCE

Costco plans special cash dividend payout on Dec.7; November sales beat Street

BY Marianne Wilson

Issaquah, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. on Wednesday said it will pay a special dividend worth some $3.0 billion to investors, sending cash to its shareholders ahead of a likely increase in the dividend tax. The chain also posted monthly same-store sales that beat analysts’ expectations.

“Our strong balance sheet and favorable access to the credit markets allow us to provide shareholders with this dividend,” Costco CFO Richard Galanti said in a statement.

Costco reported net sales of $8.15 billion for the month of November, up 9% from $7.51 billion during the similar four-week period last year. Total same-store sales for the period rose 6%. The increase was 5% excluding gains from gasoline price inflation and stronger foreign currencies.

For the first fiscal quarter of its 2013 fiscal year (from Sept. 3 through Nov. 25, 2012), the company reported net sales of $23.21 billion, an increase of 10% from $21.18 billion in the first fiscal quarter of 2012. Total same-store sales for the period increased 7%.

In deciding to make the special payout, Costco joins a growing list of companies that have recently declared end-of-year dividend payments or moving up their quarterly payouts because investors may have to pay higher taxes on dividend income starting in January, with the likely increase in the dividend tax rate due to the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

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