American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. today announced earnings for the third quarter ended October 29, 2011 of $0.27 per diluted share, compared to adjusted income from continuing operations of $0.29 per diluted share last year, which excludes a realized loss from the sale of investment securities of $0.12 per diluted share.
Total sales for the quarter increased 11% to $832 million, compared to $752 million last year. Third quarter comparable store sales increased 5%, compared to a 1% increase last year. For additional comparable store sales information for the period, see the accompanying table.
Gross profit was $309 million, or 37.1% as a rate to sales, compared to $312 million, or 41.6% as a rate to sales, last year. While merchandise profit dollars increased slightly due to stronger sales, higher cotton costs and markdowns pressured the merchandise margin, which decreased 480 basis points. Buying, occupancy and warehousing costs improved 30 basis points as a rate to sales, primarily due to top line growth driven by a 5% comparable store sales increase.