Women's specialty retailer Christopher & Banks has reported net income of $10.2m for the third quarter, up from $9.2m during the same period last year, on the back of a 9% same-store sales boost.

The company confirmed an earlier indication that total sales for the third quarter were $160.0m compared to $139.3m for the quarter, which ended 25 November 2006, but cautioned that December sales had slowed.

For the nine month period, meanwhile, net sales were $450.5m compared to $413.3m for the nine month period last year. Same-store sales for this thirty-nine week period increased 3% compared to the same period last year. Net income was $25.3m for the nine-months, compared to $31.8m last year. As of 1 December 2007, the company operated 841 stores compared to 778 as of 25 November 2006.

Lorna Nagler, president and CEO of Christopher & Banks Corporation, said: "We are pleased to have delivered a 9% same-store sales increase and strong third quarter earnings despite a challenging macro-environment."

In its outlook, Christopher & Banks said it anticipates fourth quarter earnings per diluted share to be in the range of $0.02 to $0.05, reflecting the expectation for flat to a low single digit decline in same-store sales in the fourth quarter. In addition, the company announced that, based on sales to date and its projections for the balance of the month, fiscal December same-store sales were anticipated to decline 1 to 2%.

Nagler added: "Thus far, December sales have been adversely impacted by a promotional retail environment, challenging macroeconomic conditions, as well as snow and ice storms in several geographic regions. We are encouraged that we have seen improvement in same-store sales as we progressed through the month. Nonetheless, our December same-store sales are expected to fall short of our initial expectations.

"While the women's specialty apparel retail sector remains very promotional, we are pleased that our December merchandise margins to date show strong improvement as compared to last year. We plan to maintain lean inventory levels and believe we are positioned to generate continued improvement in merchandise margins as we proceed through the fourth quarter."