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Vera Bradley Profit Up 41%; Details Q1, FY Outlook - Update

Women's accessories maker Vera Bradley Inc. (VRA), Wednesday reported a 41 percent rise in fourth-quarter earnings, driven mainly by strong demand for its brands and robust multi-channel capabilities, leading to a better-than-expected growth in sales.

Moving forward, Vera Bradley provided a mixed outlook for the first quarter and full year. The company's shares are down 4 percent in extended trade on the Nasdaq, following the news.

Vera Bradley is a designer and retailer of hand bags, accessories, and travel items for women. The company's revenue for the quarter grew 23 percent from last year. Direct net revenues were up 46 percent, and includes a 9.3 percent rise in same-store sales and a 28 percent jump in E-commerce sales.

Gross margin for the quarter was 56.4 percent, relatively flat with 56.5 percent registered in the same period last.

Net income for the fourth quarter was $20 million or $0.50 per share, compared to $14 million or $0.35 per share last year.

On average, 11 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.47 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Vera Bradley recorded quarterly revenue of $134.5 million, compared to $109.4 million in the prior year. Analysts expected revenue of $130.04 million.

Vera Bradley expects first-quarter earnings of $0.27 to $0.29 per share and revenue of $115 million to $117 million.

Analysts currently expect earnings of $0.32 per share on revenue of $117 million for the quarter.

The company has forecast fiscal 2012 earnings of $1.68 to $1.71 per share and revenue of $540 million to $545 million.

Analysts expect earnings of $1.68 per share on revenue of $531.11 million for the year.

CEO Michael Ray said, "Looking ahead, we remain excited about our prospects as we continue to execute our growth strategies, which include expanding our product offerings and growing in under penetrated markets."

VRA closed Wednesday on the Nasdaq at $37.14, down $0.35 or 0.93%, on a volume of 1.04 million shares. In after hours, the stock slid 4.15%.

by RTT Staff Writer

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