Casual apparel chain Pacific Sunwear of California Inc on Thursday posted a sharp rise in August same-store sales and lifted its third and fourth quarter earnings outlook.

The operator of nearly 850 stores said it now sees third quarter earnings per share of 41 cents versus its previous view of 39 cents with four quarter earnings now seen at 54 cents instead of 53 cents.

It said those views are based on a six to eight per cent hike in September and August same-store sales and a five to six per cent rise in fourth quarter same-store sales.

PacSun said its same-store sales rose 15.6 per cent last month while total sales jumped 24 per cent to $136.7 million from $110.2m last year.

Chairman and CEO, Greg Weaver, said: "Our back-to-school sales have been very strong with PacSun and d.e.m.o. both posting double digit comparable store gains.

"The momentum in our girls, footwear and accessory business continued in August. Men’s showed modest improvement with same store sales up mid-single digits for the month.

"Based upon August's results we are optimistic about the balance of 2003 and have increased our sales and earnings outlook."