• Q3 profit up 57.4% to $41.7m
  • Sales rose 18.2% to $636.7m
  • Gross margin increased 20.8% to $364.3m

Strong sales and improved margins helped women's wear retailer Chico's post a 57.4% increase in third-quarter net profit.

Net income reached US$41.7m during the quarter to 27 October, compared to $26.5m last year.

Sales jumped 18.2% to $636.7m compared to $538.5m last year, while comparable sales rose 9.9%. The company, which operates 614 boutiques and 99 stores, attributed the increase in comparable sales to a positive response to autumn fashion lines and effective marketing plans.

The Chico's/Soma intimates and White House Black Market brands reported comparable sales growth of 11.6% and 6.4% respectively.

Gross margin improved over the period, rising 120 basis points to 57.2%, which the company attributed to selling more merchandise at full-price and successful promotional activity.

The company expects full-year net sales to range from $2.55bn to $2.6bn and forecasts comparable sales growth of mid-single digit.