True Religion Q4 earnings beats estimates


True Religion fall-winter campaign

* Q4 EPS of 53 cents beats est of 46 cents

* Sees 2009 earnings below Street

* Sees 2009 US wholesale business down 17 to 19 pct

Feb 25 (Reuters) - Premium jeans brand True Religion Apparel Inc's (TRLG.O) quarterly profit soared more than 42 percent, beating market expectations, driven by international and consumer direct sales, but it forecast 2009 earning below expectations.

The company also expects sales at its U.S. wholesale segment to fall by 17 to 19 percent on a sharp fall in sales to boutiques, and a mid-single digit decline in sales to majors and off-price retailers.

True Religion, a young brand that began selling jeans with a horseshoe on its back pocket in 2003, posted net profit of $12.7 million, or 53 cents a share, compared with profit of $8.9 million, or 37 cents a share in the year-ago quarter.

Six analysts were expecting the company to earn 46 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Net sales for its consumer direct segment, which includes its branded retail stores and e-commerce site, more than doubled to $24.4 million, while international sales rose to $11.75 million from $9.2 million.

U.S. wholesale sales for the fourth quarter rose more than 14 percent.

For fiscal 2009, the company, which sells its namesake jeans in specialty boutiques and major department stores such as Saks Inc (SKS.N) and Nordstrom Inc (JWN.N), expects to earn between $1.73 and $1.81 a share on revenue between $290 million and $297 million.

Analysts were expecting the company to earn $1.82 a share on revenue of $294.1 million.

Shares of the Vernon, California-based company were at $13.75 in after market trade. They had closed at $13.53 Wednesday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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