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American Eagle Outfitters Shares Rally on Q3 Results, Outlook (AEO)

Shares of American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO), a specialty retailer that operates in the U.S. and Canada, are soaring in trading today after the company reported strong results for the third quarter. The company also provided robust outlook for the fourth quarter.

Robert Hanson, CEO of American Eagle Outfitters, said that AEO’s third-quarter results reflected on-going business momentum, profitable sales growth, and a leading brand and product driven customer experience. Hanson said that he is also pleased to see business strength carry into the fourth quarter and record results over Thanksgiving weekend. Hanson added that as the company looks forward, it is sharply focused on executing its strategy plan to drive future profitable growth and top tier shareholder returns.

For the third quarter ended October 27, 2012, AEO reported net sales from continuing operations of $910 million, a record and up 11% over the same period in the previous year. Comparable store sales for the quarter rose 10%, compared to a 7% increase last year.

AEO reported third-quarter gross profit of $379 million, representing an increase of 21% over the same period previous year. The company’s gross margin for the quarter rose 350 basis points to 41.6%.

Operating income for the quarter rose 39% to $129 million. AEO reported earnings from continuing operations of $0.41 per share for the third quarter, compared to $0.30 per share reported for the same period in the previous year.

Looking ahead, AEO expects fourth-quarter earnings to be between $0.54 per share and $0.56 per share, compared to adjusted earnings from continuing operations of $0.39 per share reported for the same period in the previous year.

AEO shares hit an intra-day high of $21.10 in trading today. At last check, the stock was trading 7.32% higher at $20.81on above average volume of 11.79 million.

Year-to-date, AEO shares have gained more than 36%.

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