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Express announces $100 mln share buyback program

Express announces $100 mln share buyback program

Young adult apparel and accessories retailer Express (NYSE:EXPR) announced Thursday a $100 million share buyback program that has been authorized by the company’s board of directors.

The repurchase program of the company’s common stock will be funded using available cash, and is expected to be executed over the next 18 months.

"Our Board believes that at the current price our stock is undervalued based on many criteria, including the long-term growth prospects for the company, and that the repurchase program is an effective means to enhance shareholder value,” said chairman, president and CEO, Michael Weiss.

"Express' strong financial condition allows us to take advantage of opportunities to purchase our securities at attractive prices. We remain confident in our go-to-market strategy and believe that our four growth pillars provide significant opportunity going forward."

The company is authorized to repurchase shares of its outstanding common stock on the open market, or in privately negotiated transactions, from time-to-time.

The timing and amount of stock bought back will depend on a variety of factors, such as market conditions as well as corporate and regulatory considerations, the company said.

Express recently reported first quarter results that fell short of estimates.

For the three month period that ended April 28, Express posted net income of $42.1 million, or 47 cents per diluted share, compared to net income of $35.0 million, or 39 cents per diluted share in the first quarter of 2011, when Express had $2.4 million in non-core operating costs.

Net sales increased six percent to $496.0 million, from $467.4 million in the year earlier quarter.

Analysts had forecast earnings of 49 cents per share on revenues of $503.17 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

Comparable sales increased four percent in the latest period - lower than the company’s reported eight percent increase in comparable sales in the first quarter of 2011.

The specialty retailer currently operates more than 600 retail stores, located primarily in shopping malls, lifestyle centers, and street locations across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Express said it plans to open approximately 30 new stores in 2012, including 23 in the United States and seven in Canada. The company also distributes its products through the Company's e-commerce website.

Shares increased 2.63 percent Thursday morning to $18.33.

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