Aéropostale, the retailer of active and casual apparel for young men and women, has posted a 10.4% rise in third quarter profit on higher sales. 

Net income rose to $36.0m, compared to $32.6m in the third quarter of fiscal 2006, while sales increased 7.0% to $412.6m from $385.5m. Same-store sales were up 1.9%.

Year-to-date, total net sales increased 10.3% to $999.6m, with same-store sales up 0.1% compared to the corresponding period ended 4 November.

Julian R Geiger, chairman and chief executive officer, said: "We are very pleased with our results for the quarter, which exceeded expectations.

"During the quarter we were able to drive consistent comparable store sales increases, while continuing to improve our gross margins over last year. We also ended the quarter with well controlled inventories."

The company also said it expects to achieve fourth quarter earnings in the range $0.82 to $0.84 per diluted share, including an approximate $0.08 positive impact from the accelerated share repurchase of $125.0m.

Based on fourth quarter earnings per share guidance, it said, the company expects to achieve full year fiscal 2007 earnings in the range of $1.60 to $1.62 per diluted share.

Geiger added: "The sales and margin momentum from our strong third quarter has carried over into our initial performance in the fourth quarter.

"Over the important Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving Day, we achieved mid-single digit comparable store sales increases compared to a mid-single digit increase last year.

"We currently expect our November comparable store sales to increase in the mid-single digits range. The reaction to our holiday merchandise assortment has been positive and we remain focused on executing our strategies for the peak holiday selling season."