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.

Net sales rose 13.3 per cent to $83.6m from $73.8m last year with same-store sales up 6.8 per cent.

Bebe added it anticipates same-store sales for the current quarter to be positive low to mid single digits and earnings per share to be in the range of 47 to 50 cents per share.