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Retail malaise not a thing for Express during first quarter; solid beat and outlook boost

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Solid sales growth at Express pushed the clothing retailer beyond Wall Street's first-quarter expectations and the company boosted its full-year earnings forecast.

The company also issued second-quarter earnings guidance above analyst projections and shares surged more than 8 percent in Thursday premarket trading.

For the period ended May 2, the Columbus, Ohio, company earned $13.1 million, or 15 cents per share. A year earlier it earned $5.1 million, or 6 cents per share.

Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to 22 cents per share, 9 cents better than Wall Street had expected, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue increased to $502.4 million from $460.7 million, which also beat Wall Street forecasts easily.

Comparable sales, which include online sales, climbed 7 percent. Online sales rose 12 percent to $77.6 million.

The company scaled back on promotion and put increased focus on inventory management during the quarter, said CEO David Kornberg.

Express Inc., which runs about 630 stores, now foresees full-year adjusted earnings in a range of $1.11 to $1.22 per share. Its prior outlook was for 93 cents to $1.07 per share. For the second quarter, the retailer anticipates earnings of 13 cents to 16 cents per share.

Analysts polled by FactSet predict full-year earnings of $1.06 per share and second-quarter earnings of 11 cents per share.

Shares of the company added $1.41 to $18.03 before the market open.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on EXPR at http://www.zacks.com/ap/EXPR

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Keywords: Express, Earnings Report

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