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Saks first-quarter profits soar, looks to grow Off 5th unit

NEW YORK — Saks Inc. announced reported net income of $28.4 million, or 16 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter. For the prior year first quarter, the company recorded net income of $18.8 million, or 11 cents per diluted share. 

Stephen Sadove, chairman and CEO, noted, "I am very pleased with our first quarter results. Our improved year-over-year performance was driven by a 10.2% comparable-store sales increase and continued gross margin rate improvement."

In the Saks Fifth Avenue stores, several merchandise categories showed strength during the first quarter, including women's and men's apparel, handbags and shoes, the company reported. For the quarter, the sales increase in the New York City flagship store was in line with the company's aggregate comparable-store sales performance.

Saks Direct posted an approximate 25% comparable-store sales increase in the first quarter. Off 5th's comparable-store sales performance was below the company's aggregate comparable-store sales performance for the quarter.

The company said it expects comparable-store sales growth in the high-single digit range for the second quarter and in the mid-to-high single digit range in the second half of the fiscal year.

Saks also announced that it plans to open four new Off 5th stores this year in Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Northbrook, Ill., and Charleston, S.C.

Additionally, the Off 5th arm said it will open a new store at the Market at Town Center in Sugar Land, Texas, that will replace its store located at The Fountains in Stafford, Texas.