Francesca's shares jump on boosted 4Q guidance

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Associated Press

Posted on January 14, 2013 at 2:32 PM

HOUSTON (AP) — Shares of Francesca's Holdings Corp. jumped before Monday's opening bell, after the company raised its guidance for the fourth quarter citing strong holiday season sales.

The Houston-based women's accessories and clothing store chain said it now expects to post a profit of 29 cents or 30 cents per share for the quarter ending Feb. 2. Sales are expected to total between $84.5 million and $85 million.

Last month, the company projected fourth-quarter earnings of 27 cents or 28 cents per share, with revenue in a range of $82.5 million to $83.5 million.

Analysts, on average, expect a profit of 28 cents per share on $84.1 million in revenue, according to a FactSet poll.

The company's outlook is based on expectations of a 7 percent to 8 percent increase in fourth-quarter revenue at stores open at least a year. The metric is a key measure of a retailer's health, because it excludes revenue at stores that recently opened or closed.

CEO Neill Davis said the raised guidance reflects strong holiday shopping season sales and customer approval of its small, boutique shopping format.

Shares of Francesca's rose $2.02, or 7.2 percent, to $30.25 in premarket trading. They have traded in a 52-week range of $20.93 in mid-May and $37.09 in early September.

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