Women's fashion chain Bebe Stores Inc on Thursday posted a healthy 17.6 per cent rise in first quarter net profit from the year-ago period as its bottom line was boosted by higher sales. The California-based operator of 184 stores in the US and Canada reported net earnings for the 13 weeks ended September 30 of $6 million, or 23 cents per diluted share, versus $5.1m, or 20 cents, last year.