Fragrance and perfume maker Inter Parfums (NASDAQ:IPAR) pre-announced first-quarter sales yesterday that were well ahead of both last year's results and Wall Street's expectations, causing the company to raise rguidance from its previous estimates.

Inter Parfums reported that net sales for the three months ended March 31 were $213.8 million, up more than 29% from the same period last year when it recorded revenues of $165.4 million. Analysts had been expecting the perfume maker to post revenues of around $164 million.

As a result of its strong first-quarter performance and expectations for the remainder of the year, Inter Parfums raised its guidance for 2013 and now expects net sales to reach approximately $510 million, generating profits of between $1.00 and $1.02 per share. That's more than 6% higher than its previous sales guidance, which called for revenues of $480 million with net income in the range of $0.90 to $0.92 per diluted share, or about 10% lower than what it now sees.

The current quarter benefited from exceptionally strong results in Europe, where net sales surged 34%, more than offsetting the 7% decline experienced in the U.S.

In reference to U.S.-based operations, Inter Parfums CEO Jan Madar said, "Last year's first quarter was somewhat of an anomaly, with sales 71% ahead of 2011's first quarter due primarily to initial sales of Anna Sui fragrances. Also during the 2012 first quarter, we launched Love Fury by Nine West and Wildbloom Vert for Banana Republic. In other words, the bar was set unusually high, making the comparable quarter sales decline understandable."

Inter Parfums expects to issue official first-quarter results around May 8.


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