These results reflected an increase on top of 21% and 91% gains in the third quarters of 2010 and 2009, respectively.
Net earnings for the third quarter ended Oct. 29 grew 19% to $144.0 million, up from $121.4 million for the third quarter a year ago. Fiscal 2011 third quarter sales increased 9% to $2.046 billion, with comparable store sales up 5% over the prior year.
"We are pleased with our above-plan sales and earnings in the third quarter and first nine months of 2011, especially considering this growth was achieved on top of exceptional increases in the prior two years," said Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and chief executive officer.
"Our strong revenue gains continue to be driven mainly by our ability to deliver compelling bargains on a wide assortment of exciting name brand fashions for the family and the home to today's increasingly value-focused consumers," he added. "In addition, operating our business on lower in-store inventories is driving faster turns and lower markdowns, which continues to benefit profit margins."
The company also announced that its board of directors has approved a two-for-one stock split to be paid in the form of a 100% stock dividend on Dec. 15 to stockholders of record as of Nov. 29. In addition, the board declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $.22 per share, or $.11 per share post-split, payable on Dec. 30 to stockholders of record as of Nov. 29.