Retailer Urban Outfitters beats on top and bottom lines, but same-store sales sink

Shoppers with their Urban Outfitters shopping bags in Soho in New York
Richard Levine | Corbis | Getty Images

Shares of Urban Outfitters soared Wednesday after the retailer reported earnings and revenue that topped expectations.

In premarket trading, the retailer's shares surged more than 20 percent.

Here's what Wall Street was expecting:

  • Earnings per share: 44 cents per share, vs. 37 cents expected, according to a survey of analysts by Thomson Reuters.
  • Revenue: $873 million, vs. $861 million estimated, Thomson Reuters said.
  • Same-store sales: a decrease of 4.9 percent, vs. 6.9 percent drop expected, according to Thomson Reuters.

By brand, sales rose 2.9 percent at Free People, but fell 4 percent at the Anthropologie Group and 7.9 percent at Urban Outfitters.

"While we are disappointed in our second quarter performance, we have a number of initiatives underway including: speed to customer, international growth, wholesale expansion and digital investments," CEO Richard A. Hayne said in a statement. "We believe these initiatives combined with encouraging fashion apparel trends could lead to improved topline performance in future quarters."

While investors drove up Urban Outfitters shares, BMO Capital Markets analyst John Morris said the turnaround was still in its early days. He admitted that both Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters showed improvement, however, he cautioned "we feel that both brands are in the beginning stages of a turnaround and it is too early to signal all clear. We await further evidence that both core divisions have significantly improved operations, rather than relying on one quarter of green-shoots, to become more positive on the shares."

Jefferies analyst Randal Konik said he expects Urban Outfitters' performance will remain "choppy" over the near term, but he sees a long-term opportunity as management improves its execution, realizes cost savings from its store reorganization project, and puts that money to use to boost higher-margin efforts, like its digital business.

—CNBC's Christina Cheddar Berk contributed to this report.