Women's apparel retailer Coldwater Creek Inc has reported higher first quarter earnings of $5.45 million, more than doubling the $1.91m posted in the same period last year.

The Idaho-based company, which also posted a rise in sales from $115.2m to $124.5m for the quarter, attributed the improved results to a shift in business strategy from catalogues to retail stores.

"Our retail store performance increased our ability to leverage store occupancy costs, which, coupled with improved merchandise margins, delivered the higher net income," CEO Dennis Pence said in a statement.

At the end of the first quarter, Coldwater Creek operated 71 full-line retail stores, compared with 44 at the same time a year ago.