NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Cosmetics company Elizabeth Arden Inc. said Thursday that second-quarter profit rose to surpass both its own and Wall Street’s targets, helped by the launch of Britney Spears and 5th Avenue fragrances.

Arden (RDEN: 21.48, +0.34, +1.6%), based in New York, said net income rose to $33.1 million, or $1.12 a share, from $31.7 million, or $1.06, a year ago. Excluding stock-option expense, earnings would have been $1.15 a share.

Sales for the three months ended Dec. 31 advanced 7.1% to $346 million from $323 million in last year’s second quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call forecast earnings, on average, of $1.07 on sales of $343.2 million.

For the fiscal 2006, Arden forecast earnings of $1.20 to $1.26 a share, or $1.33 to $1.39, excluding stock-option expense. Analysts’ estimate stands at $1.23 a share.

Shares in Arden closed Wednesday at $21.48, up 34 cents.

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