Women's wear retailer Charlotte Russe is planning to nearly double its number of outlets after a substantial sales rise during its third quarter.

Comparable store sales increased 18.2% during the period ending 24 June, with net sales up 32% to US$163m, and profits before tax hitting $14.7m, compared to $5.4m for the same period last year.

CEO Mark Hoffman said the company would open 20 new stores in the fourth quarter, with 23 more being remodelled to the "bright store" prototype.

"With over 50 new stores targeted for fiscal 2007, we see potential to reinvest our strong operating cashflow back into the business and grow the Charlotte Russe stores to over 600 locations in the next several years," he added. Charlotte Russe currently has 360 outlets.

The retailer, which targets young women in their teens and early 20s, has agreed to sell 44 of its 64 Rampage stores for $14m, with four of those remaining to be converted to the Charlotte Russe brand.

Hoffman said the company was expecting mid single-digit comparable store sales growth in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006.