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PHILADELPHIA-An early Fall shopping spree by consumers pushed second quarter profits up a whopping 49% at Urban Outfitters Inc., which saw sales jump 34% to a record $253.4 million from $189.5 million during the same quarter a year ago.

“It was easily the best second quarter in the company’s history, and in fact, from the standpoint of revenues generated, it was the company’s best quarter ever,” company president and chairman Dick Hayne told investors and analysts in a conference call Thursday.

News of the windfall profits sent the company’s stock up 71 cents to $57.80 at the close of business Thursday. <p.The Philadelphia-based retailer of youth and women's apparel, which operates 150 stores under the Urban Outfitters, Anthropologies and Free People names in Canada, Great Britain and the United States, said it made $30.6 million, or 36 cents per share, during the quarter compared with last year, when it brought in $20.5 million or 25 cents a share. Analysts had forecast average earnings of 36 cents per share for the period.

Total sales for the quarter jumped by $63.9 million due largely to a 52% increase in new and non-comparable store sales, a 10 % hike in comparable store sales and a 54% increase in catalogue and internet sales. An 84% spike in Free People wholesale revenues, sparked by an 86% increase in the average order, also helped bolster sales numbers, the company said.

“Our future continues to hold tremendous opportunity,” said Hayne. “This momentum, combined with the current positive spending mood of our customers, makes us optimistic about second half opportunities.”

Contributing to that momentum was the opening of 18 Urban Outfitters stores, 16 Anthropologies outlets and two Free People stores during the quarter. The firm’s Free People line of clothing also is sold in more than 1,100 boutiques and department stores. The company, which opened 12 stores this year and a total of 36 stores since the beginning of last year’s second quarter, anticipates opening a total of 30 to 32 new stores by January.<p.

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