Advancers Barnes & Noble (BKS: news, chart, profile) rose more than 3 percent after the company reported same-store sales for its Barnes & Noble bookstores rose 5.5 percent in the holiday period. Total sales at the Barnes & Noble bookstores for the nine weeks running from Nov. 4 to Jan. 5 advanced 13.2 percent to $864.5 million from $763.7 million in the same period a year earlier. Based on these results, the New York firm said it expects earnings for the fourth quarter to "slightly exceed the high end of guidance." On Nov. 8, the company said it anticipates a profit of $1.08 to $1.12 per share in the quarter, which, at that time, was below Wall Street. BioReliance (BREL: news, chart, profile) leapt more than 8 percent in midday action, rebounding from a decline of roughly 35 percent Wednesday after the Rockville, Md., provider of contract testing and manufacturing services warned that it expects earnings of 90 cents to $1 per share for fiscal 2002. The company also reaffirmed projections for earnings of 21 to 26 cents a share in the fourth quarter, and 62 to 67 cents a share for fiscal 2002. For the first quarter of 2002, however, BioReliance anticipates earnings of 15 to 19 cents a share. The company said first-quarter results will be burdened by annual salary increases for employees, a return to normal tax rates, and a larger number of common share equivalents. The Children's Place (PLCE: news, chart, profile) added more than 7 percent after the company announced that comparable December store sales increased 2 percent vs. the same period in the previous year. Total sales for December totaled $98.8 million a 13 percent increase over sales of $87.3 million reported in the same period the year before. The Secaucus, N.J.-based retailer said it was maintaining its fourth-quarter earnings-per-share estimate of 60 cents a share while acknowledging that the target now appears to be "rather conservative." The 60-cent-a-share fourth-quarter target is in line with the Thomson Financial/First Call estimate. Claire's Stores (CLE: news, chart, profile) advanced more than 8 percent after the company raised earnings expectations for its fiscal fourth quarter, helped by better-than-expected holiday sales. The costume jewelry retailer is now forecasting earnings of 50 cents a share for the quarter ending January, up from previous expectations of 40 to 45 cents a share. Total sales during the five weeks ended Jan. 5 were $174.3 million, a decline of 4 percent from the comparable period a year ago. Same-store sales were flat. Gap Inc. (GPS: news, chart, profile) added more than 11 percent after the company reported December same-store sales fell 11 percent. Total sales for the five weeks ended Jan. 5 reached $2.2 billion, flat with its performance in the same period a year earlier. As for the fourth quarter, the company said it expects to report a loss per share "no worse than the 6 cents per share" it posted in the third quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call are currently looking for a loss of 12 cents a share in the period. Pacific Sunwear (PSUN: news, chart, profile) gained more than 5 percent after the company reported December same-store sales rose 4.1 percent. Total sales for the five weeks ended Jan. 6 jumped 19.4 percent to $118.8 million from $99.5 million in the same period a year earlier. Based on these results, the Anaheim, Calif., casual apparel retailer expects fourth-quarter earnings of 40 to 41 cents a share, ahead of the current Wall Street consensus estimate for a profit of 35 cents. Sagent (SGNT: news, chart, profile) leapt more than 22 percent after the company said fourth-quarter revenue should be at the high-end of the previously-given range of expectations. In late-November, the provider of customer relationship management software had forecast revenue of $12.5 million to $13.5 million for the quarter ending December. The company added that it expected to announce new customer and strategic partner wins over the next few weeks. Sears (S: news, chart, profile) advanced more than 3 percent after the company said increased margins and lower operating expenses will lead to fourth-quarter earnings, excluding one-time items, that exceed the consensus analyst forecast. The retailing giant said it expects to report earnings for the quarter ending December to increase 11 percent over the same period a year earlier to $2.02 per share, above EPS of $1.91 forecasted by analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call. Full-year EPS is expected to be $4.22, compared with expectations of $4.11. Sorrento Networks (FIBR: news, chart, profile) gained more than 30 percent after the San Diego, Calif., optical networking firm agreed to supply its metro and regional optical networking equipment for Cox Communications (COX: news, chart, profile). The deal is part of Cox's program to construct its own nationwide high-speed optical network. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Willamette Industries (WLL: news, chart, profile) rose more than 6 percent in morning action after Weyerhaeuser (WY: news, chart, profile) decided to extend its $55 per share cash tender offer for the company until midnight Feb. 27. Weyerhaeuser said that as of Jan. 9, Willamette shareholders had tendered 70 million shares to the offer, roughly 64 percent of Willamette's outstanding stock.