True Religion Apparel Inc. said its second quarter earnings rose 18 percent as the Vernon apparel maker expanded distribution of its premium denim and made efforts to solidify its brand amid the recession.

After the markets closed Tuesday, True Religion reported net income of $11 million (45 cents per share), compared with $9.3 million (39 cents) a year ago.

Sales rose 12 percent to $72.1 million, with revenue up 20 percent in its U.S. wholesale unit and more than 54 percent overseas. Sales were up 60 percent in its retail store and e-commerce business. The company opened 10 stores during the quarter.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected earnings of 39 cents on revenue of $71 million.

For fiscal 2009, True Religion now expects to earn $1.76 to $1.84 a share, up from its earlier outlook of $1.73 to $1.81 a share. The company also raised the revenue outlook by $3 million to a range of $293 to $300 million.

"We continue to build brand awareness through the expansion of our consumer direct platform, execute alongside our retail partners and expand our distribution worldwide," said Chief Executive Jeffrey Lubell in a statement. "This multi-faceted approach to growth enabled us to mitigate the broader economic challenges."

Shares were up $1.33, or 6 percent, in midday trading on the Nasdaq.

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