Specialty apparel chain New York & Co has reported an increase in third-quarter gross profit on successful store openings and effective merchandising and marketing strategies.

Gross profit for the third quarter increased 19.1 per cent to $85.5 million, or 35.3 per cent of net sales compared to $71.8m in the third quarter last year.

Operating income increased 15.8 per cent to $18.3m, or 7.6 per cent of net sales compared to $15.8m, or 7.0 per cent of net sales in the third quarter of 2003.

The third quarter 2004 results include certain charges, which the company does not expect to incur in the future, connected to its recent initial public offering, refinancings and terminated advisory services agreement.

Adjusted operating profits including these charges increased 43.8 per cent to $23.0m.

Excluding the charges reported in the period, the company made earnings of $11.8m, or 23 cents a share, in the latest quarter.

Sales rose 8.5 per cent to $242.3m from $223.4m in the third quarter of fiscal 2003, while same-store sales increased 7 per cent.
 
During the quarter, the company opened 13 new stores and ended the quarter operating 486 stores.

Richard Crystal, New York & Company's chairman, president and chief executive officer said: "Our third quarter results demonstrate the success of our store expansion, merchandising and marketing strategies and adherence to our disciplined operating model."

During the quarter, the company opened 13 new stores and ended the quarter operating 486 stores.