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Following strong holiday sales, Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN - Analyst Report) reported robust preliminary sales results for the fourth-quarter of fiscal 2013. The company’s net sales jumped 17% year over year to $857 million and surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $844 million.

By brands, sales increased 16.5% to $415.5 million at Urban Outfitters, while it rose 11.9% to $334.8 million at Anthropologie. Net sales jumped 39.9% to $97.7 million at Free People, while it nearly doubled to $8.8 million at Other brands.

With consumers regaining confidence, most of the retailers are witnessing strong sales trends. This is evident from the fact that Jan 2013 was strong on the whole for most retailers, with other players including Kohl's Corp. (KSS - Analyst Report), Nordstrom Inc (JWN - Analyst Report) and Macy’s Inc (M - Analyst Report) registering comparable-store sales growth of over 10%.

Urban Outfitters is slated to report its fourth-quarter results on Mar 11, 2013. The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter stands at 55 cents a share, which is more than double the earnings of 27 cents reported in the comparable year-ago quarter.

Comparable retail segment net sales for this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock, including comparable direct-to-consumer channel, escalated 11%, reflecting robust sales across all brands. 

Comparable retail segment net sales rose by 11% and 7% at Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie respectively, while it jumped 37% at Free People. Net sales at Direct-to-consumer increased 44%, while the wholesale segment marked an increase of 22% in net sales for the period.

Amid the positives, comparable-store net sales remained flat, reflecting the impact of charges associated with Direct-to-consumer returns at stores. Excluding the charges, comparable store net sales increased in the low single-digit.

The company stated that total net sales surged 13% year over year to $2.8 billion for fiscal 2013, while comparable retail segment net sales increased 7%. The company stated that comparable-store net sales edged down 1%. However, excluding the charges associated with Direct-to-consumer returns at stores, comparable store net sales increased in the low single-digit.  Direct-to-consumer net sales soared 31%, while the Wholesale segment marked an increase of 12% in net sales.

During fiscal 2013, the company opened 49 new stores, including 15 Free People stores, 18 Urban Outfitters stores, 14 Anthropologie stores, 1 BHLDN store and 1 Terrain garden center. Urban Outfitters closed 2 Anthropologie stores during the period.

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