Chico's 1Q Direct Sales Jump 55 Percent

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Chico's FAS Inc.'s net sales for the first quarter ended April 29 increased 19.8 percent for a total of $392 million. Same-store sales increased 6.6 percent.

The Fort Myers, FL-based multichannel apparel merchant's catalog and Internet sales jumped 55 percent during the same period. The large jump in direct sales was primarily due to the addition in fiscal 2006 of catalog and Internet sales for its WH|BM and the newly acquired Fitigues brands, according to the company. A greater emphasis on its SOMA merchandise in the company's catalogs and on its Web sites also helped.

The Chico's brand experienced a 19 percent increase in catalog and Internet sales as well.

The firm's net income rose to $52 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, compared to net income of $47 million, or $0.26 per diluted share, in the prior year's first quarter.

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