Women's apparel retailer Chico's FAS Inc has posted a 52.6 per cent leap in first quarter net income to $36 million, up from $23m in the same period a year earlier.

The Florida-based company, which operates 579 stores, also reported a 52 per cent jump in quarterly net sales to $257m, up from $169m in the previous first quarter.

Comparable store sales, meanwhile, increased 20.1 per cent for the 13-week period.

According to CEO Scott Edmonds, the results represent the company's fourth consecutive quarter of improved operating margins.

"This increase was accomplished primarily through improved gross margins in the Chico's brand due to higher initial merchandise margins and a lower markdown rate, and better than expected gross margins in the White House/Black Market brand," he said.