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On Mar 22, 2013, Zacks Investment Research upgraded New York & Company, Inc. (NWY - Snapshot Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Shares of this specialty retailer of women's fashion attire and accessories have amassed an impressive year-to-date return of 16.2%.

Why the Upgrade?

New York & Company posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter fiscal 2012 results on the back of top-line growth, rise in comparable-store sales and gross margin expansion. The company declared impressive results on Mar 21, 2013, wherein earnings of 10 cents a share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 8 cents by 25%.

New York & Company, which primarily competes with Gap Inc. (GPS - Analyst Report) and Express Inc. (EXPR - Snapshot Report), outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimates in 4 straight quarters by an average of 43.9%. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for the stock is 17.5%.

Net sales jumped 7.3% over the prior-year quarter to $291.8 million, and came ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $282 million. Comparable-store sales portrayed a substantial increase of 2.3% from a decline of 6.3% in the year-ago quarter.

Gross profit for the quarter jumped 37.9% to $81.6 million, whereas gross margin expanded 620 basis points to 28%, benefiting from growth in net sales.

Other Stocks to Consider

Another stock worth considering in the non-food retail, wholesale sector includes Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. (LL - Snapshot Report) carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Shares of this specialty retailer of hardwood flooring have yielded a year-to-date return of 25%.

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