Urban Outfitters sales rise 23 percent

BANGALORE (Reuters) - Clothing and home furnishings retailer Urban Outfitters Inc URBN.O posted a 23 percent jump in third-quarter sales, beating analysts' estimates, helped by strong performance at its Anthropologie and Free People stores.

The Philadelphia-based retailer, whose shares were trading up more than 2 percent in afternoon trade, has been posting strong results even as many U.S. retailers have been hit by a squeeze in consumer spending amidst soaring energy and food prices.

A better understanding of customers’ requirements is helping Urban Outfitters, Stifel Nicolaus analyst Richard Jaffe said by phone. He expects the retailer to continue outperforming its peers in terms of market share and profit margins over the next 12 months.

“The Anthropologie division very much has what women want,” he added.

Urban Outfitters’ Anthropologie chain sells clothing and home decor items such as ceramics, candles and bath products to the contemporary, affluent woman. Sales at Anthropologie stores rose 32 percent to $140 million in the latest third quarter.

Sales at Free People, which is a small chain that also sells to specialty shops on a wholesale basis, increased 40 percent to $31.7 million.

Total sales for the quarter rose to $379.3 million, while same-store sales were up 17 percent at Anthropologie and 16 percent at the Free People store. Same-store sales at the company’s namesake brand increased slightly during the quarter.

Analysts on average expected sales of $374.5 million for the third quarter, according to Reuters Estimates.

Shares of the company rose almost 6 percent to $25.33, before falling back to trade up more than 2 percent at $24.42 in afternoon trade on the Nasdaq.