Speciality retailer Dress Barn raised its earnings guidance for the year after third-quarter earnings were almost double last year's figure.

Net earnings for the period ending 29 April were up 96% to a record US$20m, while net sales rose 11% to $327.2m, another record. Comparable store sales increased 7%, with the company's dressbarn brand adding 10% and maurices up 2%.

The better-than-expected May sales performance led to Dress Barn raising its earnings guidance for the full year to $1.10 per diluted share from the previous prediction of $1.05-1.07.

Similarly, for the year ending 28 July 2007, the company expects earnings per share of $1.25-1.30, based on comparable store sales growth of 4% on the year.

President and CEO David R Jaffe said the company had seen increases across a "broad base" of merchandise categories for both brands.

"We were particularly pleased with the renewed customer response to dresses as a key sales driver for our dressbarn brand, and the robust selling of sportswear across both brands for the Spring season," he added.