Vera Bradley Rises After Boosting Its Annual Profit Forecast

Vera Bradley Inc. rose the most in almost five years after posting second-quarter results that topped analysts’ estimates and boosting its forecast for the year, helped by new handbags and purses.

Profit in the quarter through Aug. 1 was 15 cents a share, excluding some items, the Roanoke, Indiana-based company said Wednesday in a statement. Analysts estimated 11 cents, on average. Sales rose 1.5 percent to $120.7 million, also topping projections.

Chief Executive Officer Rob Wallstrom is working to turn around the ailing purse seller, focusing on the back-to-school collection to drive traffic to stores and raise awareness for the brand. The company had struggled with declining mall traffic and competition from high-end brands like Kate Spade and Michael Kors offering bags at accessible price points.

Profit this year will be 72 cents to 78 cents a share, up from a previous forecast of 64 cents to 74 cents, the company said. Analysts estimated 66 cents.

The shares surged 28 percent to $13.32 at the close in New York, the biggest gain since October 2010. Even after the rally, Vera Bradley has slid 35 percent this year.

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