American Eagle Fourth-Quarter Profits Rise 40%

American Eagle Outfitters said on Wednesday earnings for the crucial holiday quarter rose 40% as it benifitted from an additional week, strong comparable stores sales and good margins.

The retailer of preppy fashions for teens said for the 14 weeks ended Feb. 3, net income was $150.2 million, or 66 cents a share, compared with $107.5 million, or 47 cents a share, for the 13-week period ended Jan. 28, 2006.

Total sales for the latest period increased 27% to $973.4 million from $769.1 million. Same-store sales, a key measure of retail performance, rose 14% when compared with 14-week period ended Feb. 4, 2006.

Analysts, on average, had been expecting earnings per share of 66 cents -- the same estimate the company had given in February -- on sales of $957.4 million, according to Thomson Financial.

For the year, net income grew 32% to $387.4 million, or $1.70 a share, from $294.2 million, or $1.26 a share last year.

Revenue climbed 20% to $2.79 billion, from $2.32 billion a year ago.

The company said it plans to open 45 to 50 American Eagle stores, 15 stores for its aerie lingerie line, and 12 Martin + Osa stores.

Shares fell 94 cents, or 3.2%, to $28.89 in premarket electronic trading, after closing at $29.83 on Tuesday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. In the last 52 weeks, it has ranged from $23.59 to $34.80.

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