updated 12/21/2006 8:59:03 AM ET 2006-12-21T13:59:03

Greeting-card maker American Greetings Corp. on Thursday said its third-quarter earnings rose sharply, helped by a one-time gain from the consolidation of some its retailers.

Earnings for the quarter ended Nov. 24 increased to $49.7 million, or 83 cents per share, from $12.9 million, or 19 cents per share, during the same period last year. The company had 18.7 million fewer shares outstanding in the latest period following stock repurchases.

The results included a gain of $20 million, or about 33 cents per share, related to the effect the consolidation of some of its retailers had on several long-term supply agreements. Last year in the period, American Greetings took a goodwill impairment charge of $43.2 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial forecast a profit of 35 cents per share for the most recent quarter. Thomson estimates usually exclude special items.

The maker of cards under the American Greetings and Gibson Greetings labels said revenue fell 7 percent to $512.2 million from $552 million during the same period a year ago.

Looking ahead, the company said it continues to expect fiscal year 2007 earnings to range from 80 cents per share to $1 per share.

Analysts are forecasting a profit of 81 cents per share.

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