Premium lifestyle fashion brand True Religion Apparel, Inc. ( announced its second-quarter financial results today, which included a $5 million, or 16.3%, increase in 2007 second-quarter net sales ($35.7 million) compared to those of 2006 ($30.7 million).

The company’s consumer direct segment, which includes its standalone retail stores and e-commerce, increased its net sales to $6.5 million from $0.7 million in the second quarter of 2006. The increase is due to the expansion of retail stores, with six full-price stores and two outlets open in the second quarter of 2007. Last year, the company had one full-price store open in the second quarter.

Sales in True Religion’s US wholesale segment in 2007’s second quarter were $24.4 million versus $22.2 million last year.

The international wholesale business had sales of $4.7 million in 2007’s second quarter compared to 2006’s second-quarter sales of $7.8 million. The decrease was due partly to an anticipated year-over-year decrease in sales to Japan and the UK and an earlier start of autumn shipments in 2006 versus 2007.

Gross profit in the 2007 second quarter increased to $20.4 million from $16.4 million in the second quarter last year.

“We have hit the mid-year point with great stride, with growth on several fronts as we continue our strategy toward becoming a global aspirational brand known worldwide for superior denim and an innovative collection of casual luxury fashion and accessories,” said chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lubell. “Our branded retail business is prolific with enviable sales and margins, and we are above plan with 15 stores targeted by year end. Also during the quarter, we added two key new executives, our VP for real estate development and our general counsel. On the product front, we announced licensing deals for handbags and swimwear and recently signed a new deal for a fragrances line. Looking ahead, we see a strong selling season as we introduce the newest elements of our fall collection and our first licensed products to our customers.”