Saks Inc. (SKS) reported earnings of 20 cents per share for the third quarter, compared with 4 cents per share a year earlier.

The results for the third quarter included a gain of 14 cents per share related to the reversal of certain estimated income tax reserves deemed no long necessary. Without this gain, Saks would have reported earnings of 6 cents per share, the company said.

Total sales rose 4.3% to $658.8 million, with sales at stores open at least one year up 5.7%.

"I am pleased with our third quarter operating performance. The year-over-year improvement was primarily driven by our continued comparable store sales growth and gross margin expansion," said CEO Stephen Sadove.

Sales at stores open at least one year will be in the mid-single digit range for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2010.

Saks also plans to contribute common stock worth as much as $20 million to the company's pension plan by the end of this month.

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