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Vera Bradley Boosts Q4, FY13 Outlook

Vera Bradley, Inc. (VRA), which makes stylish and functional accessories for women, on Tuesday raised its revenue and earnings outlook for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2013.

The company said it now expects fourth quarter net revenues to be in a range of $149 million to $154 million, compared to its prior guidance of $147 million to $152 million.

Fourth quarter indirect net revenues are now expected to grow in the low- to mid-single digits, compared to the company's previous guidance of low-single digits and same-store sales are now expected to be flat compared to the prior year versus previous guidance of low-single digit growth, mainly due to lower-than-expected traffic during the holiday season.

The company now expects fourth quarter gross margin to increase about 140 basis points year-over-year, compared to its prior expectation of 130 basis points. As a result, the company raised its fourth quarter earnings outlook to a range of $0.56 to $0.58 per share from its prior outlook of $0.55 to $0.57 per share.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters currently expect the company to earn $0.56 per share on revenue of $151.54 million for the fourth quarter. "We are pleased with how our customers have responded to our brand during the fourth quarter," commented Michael Ray, Vera Bradley's Chief Executive Officer. "While traffic in our comparable store base was a bit softer than expected, we believe our overall sales performance demonstrates the benefits of our multi-channel retail model."

For fiscal 2013, the company now forecasts net revenues of $528 million to $533 million and earnings of $1.64 to $1.66 per share. Previously, the company forecast net revenue of $526 million to $531 million and earnings of $1.63 to $1.65 per share.

Analysts currently expect the company to earn $1.64 per share on revenue of $530.23 million for the fiscal year 2013.

Vera Bradley shares closed Tuesday's regular trading session at $23.00, up 41 cents or 1.81%, and gained an additional $1.49 or 6.48% in after hours trading.

by RTT Staff Writer

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