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Stage Stores Jan. key revenue metric tops Street

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HOUSTON (AP) — Department store operator Stage Stores said Thursday that its revenue at stores open at least a year rose 10.5 percent for January, easily topping analysts' estimates.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the metric to climb 4.6 percent.

Revenue at stores open at least a year is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Stage Stores Inc. said that some of its strongest categories for the month included accessories, home, intimates, junior sportswear and misses sportswear. The best performing regions included the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and South Central.

For the five weeks ended Feb. 2, total revenue increased almost 18 percent to $100 million from $85 million.

Fourth-quarter revenue at stores open at least a year climbed 6.6 percent, with total revenue up 10 percent to $528 million from $479 million.

For the fiscal year, revenue at stores open at least a year rose 5.7 percent. Total revenue climbed 9 percent to $1.65 billion from $1.51 billion.

President and CEO Michael Glazer said in a statement that the strong performance means the Houston company still expects its fiscal 2012 adjusted earnings will meet or beat the high end of its outlook of $1.20 and $1.28 per share.

Analysts polled by FactSet expect earnings of $1.32 per share.

Stage Stores, which runs stores under the Bealls, Goody's, Palais Royal, Peebles, Stage and Steele's names, expects to report its fourth-quarter and full-year financial results on March 12. It has 864 stores in 40 states.

Its shares finished at $23.96 on Wednesday. That is nearer the high end of their 52-week range of $13.29 to $27.42.

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