Retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc today said its first quarter profits increased 16% to US$64.2m from US$55.3m for the same period last year.

Earnings for the first quarter ended 29 April 2006 rose 20% to $0.42 per diluted share from $0.35 per diluted share for the same quarter in 2005.

Total sales increased 14% to US$522.4m from US$456.5m in the corresponding period last year. Comparable store sales increased 9% versus a 27% increase last year.

Gross profit for the first quarter increased to US$253.8m, or 48.6% as a percent to sales, from $222.2 million, or 48.7% as a percent to sales last year.

The company is due to launch a new intimates sub-brand, 'aerie by American Eagle,' this autumn, and plans are underway to open the first four stores in it second major US brand, Martin + Osa, targeting 25-40 year olds.

Management expects second quarter earnings to be in the range of $0.39 to $0.41, compared to $0.37 per share last year.