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Express enjoys record second quarter sales

Express enjoys record second quarter sales
E-commerce sales grew strongly, rising 21% from a year earlier to US$75mln.

Clothes seller Express (NYSE:EXPR) has raised its full-year outlook after a record second quarter sales performance.

Shares were up 11.25% to US$18.75 in pre-market trading after the company revealed like-for-like (LFL) sales growth of 7% in the thirteen weeks to 1 August, the second quarter of the company's financial year.

The LFL sales performance was flattered somewhat by soft comparatives; in the same period the year before LFL sales had fallen 5%. 

Net sales rose 11% to US$535.6mln from US$481.4mln in the second quarter of 2014, topping forecasts of around US$505mln.

E-commerce sales grew strongly, rising 21% from a year earlier to US$75mln.

The merchandise margin grew 2.4 percentage points, which management put down to tighter stock control and more restrained promotional campaigns.

Net income of US$21.0mln was sharply up from last year's US$6.9mln, and was equivalent to 25 cents per share on a diluted basis, versus analysts forecasts of 16 cents and last year's number of six cents.

The company said it expects LFL sales growth in the current quarter to be in mid-single digits, in line with the projected outcome for the full-year.

Full year net income is seen falling in the range of US$111-117mln.

"We delivered record second quarter sales, operating income and diluted earnings per share. Strong fashion supported by brand focused marketing and an elevation of our customer experience drove a 7% increase in comparable sales," said David Kornberg, the company's president and chief executive officer. 

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