Express shares jump on better-than-expected earnings


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A fashion overhaul helped Express lure more customers to its stores and it reported better-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter.

Shares of the clothing chain jumped more than 3 percent Wednesday.

Express, which targets shoppers in their 20s, added more styles last year and aimed to bring new fashions to its stores faster, said CEO David Kornberg, in a conference call Wednesday.

Sales at stores open at least a year, considered an important measure of retailer’s health, rose 4 percent in the fourth quarter.

The company is also “optimistic” about this year, Kornberg said. Express expects sales at stores open at least a year to rise in the low single digits during the current quarter and the full year.

Express, based in Columbus, Ohio, has more than 650 stores.

The company reported earnings of $56.1 million, or 67 cents per share, in the quarter ended Jan. 30, compared with $41.8 million, or 49 cents per share, in the same quarter the year before. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 65 cents per share.

Revenue rose 5.5 percent to $765.6 million in the period, falling short of Street forecasts. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $774.3 million.

For the current quarter ending in May, Express expects its per-share earnings to range from 25 cents to 28 cents. Analysts expected earnings of 26 cents per share, according to FactSet.

The company expects full-year earnings in the range of $1.56 to $1.71 per share. Analysts expected earnings of $1.58 per share, according to FactSet.

Shares of Express Inc. rose 62 cents to $19.66.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on EXPR at http://www.zacks.com/ap/EXPR

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Keywords: Express, Earnings Report