Ladies' apparel retailer Chico's FAS Inc has reported a jump in third-quarter net income and revenue, partly boosted by better merchandise margins. 

Net income for the third quarter ended 30 October 2004 increased 38.6 per cent to $37m, or $0.41 a diluted share, from $27m, or $0.30 a diluted share, in the same quarter last year.

Net sales increased 28.1 per cent to a record $270 million from $211m in the quarter ended 1 November 2003. 

Same-store sales at company-owned stores rose 6.1 per cent for the 13-week period.

For the nine months ended 30 October 2004, net sales increased 41.3 per cent to a
record $781m from $553m in last year's quarter.

Net income rose 45.1 per cent to $108m, or $1.20 a diluted share, from $75m, or $0.85 a diluted share, in the year-before period.

Same-store sales for company-owned stores increased 13.0 per cent for the 39-week period compared to the same  period last year.

Both the Chico's and White House|Black Market brands reported strong growth in the number of transactions and both saw improvement in merchandise margins for the quarter. 

Scott Edmonds, president and chief executive officer said: "We are extremely pleased with our third-quarter results which show strong year-over-year growth in spite of the hurricanes that we experienced during this time frame."