UPDATE 1-Ann profit beats estimates as Ann Taylor, LOFT sales rise
* Second-quarter earnings/share $0.76 vs est $0.65
* Revenue rises 7 pct to $638.2 mln vs est $639.4 mln
* Sees third-quarter revenue of $655 mln vs est $659.3 mln
* Sees fiscal 2013 revenue of $2.52 bln vs est $ 2.53 bln
* Shares up 3 pct premarket
Aug 23 (Reuters) - Women's apparel retailer Ann Inc posted a higher-than-expected rise in second-quarter profit, driven by strong sales at its Ann Taylor and LOFT stores.
The company also approved a new $250 million share buyback program, which helped its stock rise 3 percent to $33.67 in premarket trade.
The company's total comparable store sales rose 2.8 percent -- the first rise in three quarters. Comparable store sales at Ann Taylor rose 3.1 percent in the quarter ended Aug. 3, while those at LOFT rose 2.5 percent.
The rise in comparable sales at Ann is in stark contrast with the steep decline in same-store sales posted by other U.S. retailers, including Aeropostale Inc, Abercrombie & Fitch Co and Macy's Inc.
Ann's net income rose to $35.6 million, or 76 cents per share, in the in the second quarter, from $30.7 million, or 63 cents per share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average were expecting profit of 65 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 7 percent to $638.2 million, but fell short of analysts' estimates of $639.4 million.
Ann forecast third-quarter revenue of $655 million, below market estimates of $659.3 million. Its fiscal 2013 sales forecast of $2.52 billion was also shy of analysts expectations of $2.53 billion.
Ann had been forced to offer more promotions during the fourth quarter last fiscal and the first quarter of this fiscal as customers kept away due to unseasonable weather and clothing lines that failed to resonate with shoppers.
The company's shares closed at $32.63 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.