Chico's FAS Inc CHS
Q1 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 05/16/2012

Operator: Good morning, and welcome to Chico's FAS, Inc First Quarter Sales and Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation.

It is now my pleasure to introduce your host Todd Vogensen, Mr. Vogensen, you may begin

Todd Vogensen - VP, IR: Thanks, Valerie, and good morning, everyone. Welcome to the Chico's FAS first quarter earnings conference call and webcast. David Dyer, CEO; and Pam Knous, CFO, are here with me at our National Store Support Center in Fort Meyers.

Before Dave begins his executive overview, we would like to remind you that our discussions this morning includes forward-looking statements, which are subject to and protected by the Safe Harbor statement found in our SEC filings and in today's earnings release. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially.

The Company does not undertake to publicly update or revise its forward-looking statements, even if experience or future changes make it clear that projected results expressed or implied by such statements will not be realized.

With that I will turn it over to Dave.

David F. Dyer - President and CEO: Thanks, Todd, and good morning to everyone, and thank you for joining us on our first quarter earnings conference call. This morning we're pleased to share our first quarter results with you and to provide insights into the remainder of 2012 and to further discuss our growth strategies. I am thrilled to announce that we're off to a very strong start in 2012 with record results for the first quarter. We performed above expectations across the board delivering a 23% in earnings per share and the first quarter marked several milestones for us. Record earnings of $0.32 a share, record sales of $651 million, record sales in every brand and a record high customer file with double-digit percentage growth over last year.

I'm also very proud of the consistency in our results; 12 consecutive quarters of positive comp sales and 13 consecutive quarters of double-digit earnings per share growth. At this point, the numbers speak for themselves. The resurgence of Chico's FAS is in full swing.

The White House Black Market first quarter results reflect the strength of our lifestyle assortment that we just launched in March of last year with customers raving about both the work kits and the White House casual collections. White House has truly become a destination for beautiful unique, feminine apparel and accessories.

Soma's focus on becoming America's new bra destination continues. The Vanishing Back Bra, the introduction of an Average Coverage Bra, the Ravishing Push Up bra and a well-received apparel collection resulted in Soma again having the highest comparable sales performance in quarter, leading all other of our brands.

Boston Proper generated a positive sales performance and positively impacted our earnings in the first quarter. We are on track with our integration plans, delivering expected synergies for 2012. The Boston Proper system integration activities are ramping up as we approach the summer and we look forward to the majority of the systems being common by the end of the year. Finally Chico's had a great quarter. Everyone has been talking about the trend to color of the spring which you all know plays right into our Chico's DNA. Our fabulous patterns and colors and our beyond expectations launch of the So Slimming jean allowed us to vigorously anniversary a very strong quarter last year. At least for Chico's FAS in the first quarter of 2012 the Missy customer was certainly back and with one of the industry's leading comparable sales performances of 9.6%. We continue to grow our market share with her.

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