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NEW YORK CITY-Women’s clothing retailer Ann Taylor opened 30 new outlets in the third quarter as profits soared 29%, to give the New York chain the best third quarter of earnings performance in the company’s history.

The upscale clothing retailer added seven Ann Taylor stores, 19 Ann Taylor LOFT stores and four Ann Taylor Factory stores to its holdings during the three months ended Oct. 28, increasing the company’s total square footage by 5.4% to 5 million sf from the 4.7 million sf it held in the same period last year.

The firm, which currently operates 856 stores under the Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor LOFT and Ann Taylor Factory banners, said profits jumped 29% in the quarter, aided by an increase in the full-price sale of more suits and dresses along with strong sales at both its brick-and-mortar stores and its online operation.

“We are very pleased with our overall results for the quarter. We achieved significant growth in sales and gross margins, which combined drove the best third quarter earnings performance in our company’s history,” Kay Krill, the company’s president and chief executive officer said in a conference call with analysts.

Net income for the period was $39.3 million, or 54 cents a share, a gain of $9 million from the $30.3 million, or 42 cents a share earned in last year’s third quarter. Analysts had expected profits of 52 cents per share.

Overall sales were also up by 10% to $566.3 million, boosted by the sale of more full-priced items at both its brick-and-mortar stores and its online operation. Comparative store sales at the company’s higher-end Ann Taylor stores and outlets were up 6.1% but were off by 0.9% at the firm’s more casual Loft stores due to sluggish sweater sales, the company said.

For the fiscal year ending in January, Ann Taylor forecast profits of $2.07 to $2.12 per share, to reflect the higher third quarter results. The company previously said that it expected profits of $2.05 to $2.10 per share.

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