Ladies' clothing retailer Chico's has enjoyed a 43 per cent hike in third-quarter profit, boosted by higher selling prices.

Quarterly net income totalled US$53.2m compared to $37.1m in the same period last year, as net sales grew 33% to $358.7m from $269.8m a year ago. Same-store sales were up 16% during the period.

For the nine months ended 29 October, net income jumped 38.1% to $150m from $108m last year, as net sales grew 31.7% to $1.03bn from $781m last year. Same-store sales rose 14.2%.

President and chief executive Scott Edmonds said: "Given the momentum of the White House | Black Market brand and upcoming real estate opportunities, we feel it is prudent to accelerate this brand's store opening program for fiscal 2006 by increasing our original planned growth by an additional 20 new stores.

"This will bring the company's fiscal 2006 new store plan to approximately 150 net new stores, with the breakdown by brand being approximately 70 White House | Black Market stores, 60 Chico's stores, and 20 Soma by Chico's stores."