Destination Maternity 4Q revenue tops Street

PHILADELPHIA -- Destination Maternity said Tuesday that its fiscal fourth-quarter revenue dipped slightly, but the results still managed to beat Wall Street's expectations. The maternity clothing company also anticipates that quarterly earnings will beat its previous projection and come in well above its performance a year ago.

Its shares surged more than 9 percent in morning trading on Tuesday.

Destination Maternity said that its quarterly revenue fell less than 1 percent to $128.5 million. The Philadelphia company had predicted revenue in a range of $125.5 million to $130 million.

Analysts polled by FactSet forecast $128.4 million.

Sterne Agee's Margaret Whitfield is more optimistic on the retailer, raising earnings estimates for 2012 through 2014. The analyst maintained a "Neutral" rating and gave a $19 price target.

Destination Maternity Corp., whose stores include A Pea in the Pod, Motherhood Maternity and its namesake, says its revenue declined mostly because it closed underperforming stores and because sales from its licensed relationship came in lower.

The retailer expects its quarterly earnings will top its prior outlook of 17 cents to 28 cents per share. The results are also expected to significantly top the year-ago period's 20 cents per share.

Wall Street analysts surveyed by FactSet expect earnings of 24 cents per share. FactSet said the full earnings report is expected to be released on Nov. 20.

For the fourth quarter, revenue at stores open at least a year climbed 2.7 percent. The results include online sales.

This figure is a key indicator of a retailer's performance because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

CEO Ed Krell said in a statement that Destination Maternity's fourth-quarter revenue performance was led by strong sales of its fall merchandise.

For the full year, revenue edged down 0.7 percent to $541.5 million, while revenue at stores open at least a year fell 0.3 percent.

Destination Maternity had 2,008 stores in the U.S. and Canada as of Sept. 30.

Destination Maternity shares rose $1.71, or 9.3 percent, to $20.04. Over the past year, the stock has traded between $13.51 and $22.53. The shares are down 11 percent from their 52-week high of $22.53 in early July.