Lifestyle retailer Urban Outfitters Inc has reported a 31% hike in third-quarter earnings, helped by rising sales at its Anthropologie, Free People, and Urban Outfitters brands.

The Philadelphia-based firm said earnings reached $59.3m, or $0.35 a share, from $45.4m, or $0.27 cents, a year earlier.

For the three months to 31 October, net sales climbed 26% to $478m from $379m in the prior year period.

Comparable store sales at Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People rose 17%, 2% and 4%, respectively, for a combined increase of 10%.

Direct-to-consumer sales jumped 41% and Free People wholesale sales climbed 21%.

"We believe our rigorous management of inventory and expenses have positioned the Company appropriately for the holiday and spring seasons," said Glen T Senk, chief executive officer.

Quarterly gross profit margins increased by 135 basis points, helped by reductions in markdowns and improvements in initial merchandise cost.

Urban Outfitters operates 140 Urban Outfitters stores, 118 Anthropologie stores, Free People Wholesale, which sells its product to approximately 1,700 stores, 27 Free People stores, and 1 Terrain garden centre.