Chico's Shares Jumped: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of clothing retailer Chico's FAS (NYSE: CHS  ) were dressed to the nines and charging higher today as investors boosted the shares as much as 18% in intraday trading after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings.

So what: If consumers aren't out shopping more, you wouldn't know it by looking at Chico's fourth-quarter numbers. For the quarter, the company notched total sales of $569 million, up nearly 20% from the prior year. Earnings per share, meanwhile, registered a 25% increase, to $0.15. Wall Street expected the company to earn just $0.11 per share on $547 million in revenue.

The top line was helped by an 8.7% jump in comparable-store sales. Operating margins increased and the company reduced share count by buying back its own shares, which helped drive the strong bottom-line results.

Now what: Not content to stop at reporting great past results, Chico's also gave a strong outlook for the year ahead. The company said it expects sales of roughly $2.5 billion, above the current analysts' estimate of $2.4 billion. Management also projected that declines in sales, general, and administrative spending would help offset further gross margin pressures.

Want to keep up to date on Chico's FAS? Add it to your Watchlist.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.

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