What happened

Shares of apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) soared on Thursday, rising as much as 29.5%. As of 12:04 p.m. EDT, the stock was up 20.3%.

The stock's rise follows the company's third-quarter financial results, which featured stronger-than-expected sales and adjusted earnings per share, as well as news that the company now expects to close 20 fewer stores this year than previously planned.

A group of young people smiling.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

For its third quarter, Abercrombie reported net sales of $861 million, beating a consensus analyst forecast for $853 million. These sales were up from $859.1 million in the year-ago quarter and were helped by a 3% rise in same-store sales.

The company's non-GAAP earnings per share was $0.33, up from $0.30 in the year-ago quarter and handily beating analysts' average estimate for $0.20.

"We are pleased with our third quarter performance, our fifth consecutive quarter of positive comparable sales," said Abercrombie CEO Fran Horowitz in the company's third-quarter earnings release, "with growth across both of our brands."

Now what

For the company's fourth quarter, management expects net sales to be down by a mid-single-digit percentage point compared to the year-ago quarter. But management expects same-store sales for the period to be up by a low-single-digit percentage point.

On the heels of the company's solid performance, management is now planning to close 40 stores this year instead of its previous expectation to close 60.