US fashion retail chain Urban Outfitters Inc on Thursday posted an impressive 313 per cent surge in first quarter earnings to $4.8 million from $1.2m in the year-ago period.

The Philadelphia-based company said net sales for the quarter jumped 31 per cent to $94.1m from $71.8m with comparable store sales up 18.2 per cent to $10.9m. Direct-to-consumer sales increased 12.2 per cent and Free People wholesale sales rose 4.2 per cent.

"We're obviously very pleased with our first quarter profit performance," said chairman and president Richard Hayne. “We did a much better job this year in predicting the fashion and executing on a store-level basis.

"'Comp' store sales in May continue to exceed our plan, but we expect these increases to moderate somewhat as we anniversary tougher comparisons from last year."