What happened

Shares of Urban Outfitters (URBN 0.97%) rose sharply on Wednesday, following the release of the lifestyle retailer's first-quarter financial results. As of 2 p.m. EDT, the stock's price was up roughly 9%.

So what

Urban Outfitters' total sales soared 57.6% year over year to $927 million, fueled by a 51% jump in comparable-store sales. The gains were broad-based. Comps for the company's three core brands -- Free People Group, Anthropologie Group, and Urban Outfitters -- rose 77%, 50%, and 42%, respectively.

People are sitting with shopping bags next to them.

Retail store traffic is recovering as the pandemic subsides. Image source: Getty Images.

Urban Outfitters' net income, in turn, improved to $54 million, or $0.54 per share, compared to a loss of $138 million, or $1.41 per share in the year-ago period.

"The first quarter was one for the record books; record sales, a record low markdown rate, and record earnings per share," CEO Richard Hayne said in a press release. 

Now what

Urban Outfitters' results lie in sharp contrast with its performance in the prior-year quarter, when coronavirus-related store closures weighed heavily on its sales and profits. Now, with vaccinations ramping up and more people shopping in stores once again, retailers are enjoying a rebound in demand for their wares. If this trend continues in the coming quarters, Urban Outfitters' shareholders could be in store for even more gains.