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Stein Mart 1Q profit surges, beats estimates

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Stein Mart's net income rose 36 percent in its first quarter, buoyed by higher revenue and a lower tax rate.

CEO Jay Stein said in a statement on Thursday that sales started off slow in the quarter because of the chilly weather and shift in the Easter holiday to March, but that sales picked up later in the period.

Its results topped Wall Street estimates, and it shares briefly rose to their highest level in almost four years.

For the period ended May 4, the discount retailer earned $14.7 million, or 33 cents per share, up from $10.8 million, or 25 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 29 cents per share, on average.

Revenue increased 4 percent to $321.4 million from $309.7 million, topping Wall Street's estimate of $318.2 million.

Revenue at stores open at least a year rose 1.2 percent. This metric is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Stein Mart Inc.'s tax rate declined to 39.6 percent from 42.7 percent.

In April the retailer said that a panel had granted its request for continued listing on the Nasdaq stock market while it takes steps to come into compliance with listing requirements. Stein Mart previously disclosed that it did not file its 2012 second- and third-quarter financial results on time because it's still in the process of restating some prior financial statements for fiscal 2010 and 2011, 2012's first quarter, all quarters of 2011 and certain financial data for 2008 through 2011. The company said last month that it believes it will be up to date with its financial filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission before August.

Stein Mart had 262 stores at the first quarter's end.

Its stock added 28 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $11.99 in morning trading after rising as high as $12.09 earlier in the session, its highest level since August 2009.

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