New store openings have helped premium denim and sportswear brand True Religion Apparel Inc to a 12.8% rise in third quarter sales.

Net income was $8.9m, or $0.38 per share. Excluding charges related to separation agreements with former executives, and an increased tax rate net income was $9.8m or $0.42 per diluted share, the company said.

Comparisons weren't provided because year-ago net income is being restated due to incorrectly calculated income tax expenses, the company said.

For the three months to 30 September, net sales rose to $48.7m from $43.2 million in last year's quarter.

Net sales for the consumer direct segment, which includes the company's branded retail stores and e-commerce operation, increased to $7.2m from $0.7m, as the company opened ten full-price stores and one outlet store.

US wholesale sales were flat at $30.1m, which the company said was due to production delays on new, more intricate autumn merchandise.

International wholesale sales fell 12.8% to $10.9m from $12.5m, on a planned reduction in sales to the company's Japanese distributor. Excluding Japan, international wholesale net sales were up 19%.

Gross profit in the quarter increased to $28.0m from $22.7m, and consolidated gross margin grew to 57.5% from 52.5%.

Jeffrey Lubell, chairman and chief executive officer, said: "Our rapidly growing retail business is well on track and serving as an excellent vehicle to bring our full merchandise offering to the market.

"Our sales momentum has been increasing and is expected to continue through the fourth quarter, giving us increased confidence that we will achieve our goals for 2007 and beyond."

True Religion reiterated its earlier guidance of fourth quarter net sales of $167m.