Chico’s Rises After Leonard Green Reports 1.3% Stake

Chico’s FAS Inc., the operator of more than 1,400 women’s clothing stores, rose the most in more than two years after Leonard Green & Partners LP disclosed a 1.3 percent stake in the company.

The shares climbed 8.4 percent to $16.97 at the close in New York, the biggest-one day gain Feb. 22, 2012. Fort Myers, Florida-based Chico’s has dropped 9.9 percent this year.

Leonard Green, based in Los Angeles, purchased 2.05 million shares of the company, according to a filing today. The stake makes the private-equity firm the retailer’s 22nd largest investor, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Leonard Green owns stakes in other specialty retailers, including J. Crew Group Inc. and Sports Authority Inc. Last year, the firm agreed to buy Lucky Brand Jeans for $225 million and was in a venture that bought Juicy Couture’s intellectual property for $195 million in cash.

Chico’s, which owns brands including White House Black Market and Soma in addition to its namesake line, has trailed analysts’ estimates for earnings per share for five straight quarters, according to data compiled Bloomberg. In the fourth quarter, sales fell 6.4 percent and gross margin narrowed as traffic slowed and the company cut prices to entice shoppers.

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