Claire’s Q4 Profit Up on Higher Sales, Lower Costs

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Chicago—Claire’s Stores, Inc. said Wednesday that its fourth quarter income rose nearly 15% due to increased sales and lowered costs.

For the quarter ended Jan. 28, teen and tween accessories retailer posted net income of $39.5 million, up from $21.32 million a year ago.

Total sales were up 3.5% to $434.9 million due primarily to sales increases at new stores and same stores, “offset by closed stores, decreases in shipments to franchisees and foreign currency translation effect of our foreign locations’ sales,” the company said. Excluding currency exchanges, net sales would have increased 3.3%.

Total comparable store sales increased 0.9% consisting of a 3.4% increase in North America and a 3.6% decrease in Europe.

Gross margin remained flat with fourth quarter 2010. Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased 5.3% to $7 million. As a percentage of net sales, selling, general and administrative expenses decreased 260 basis points compared to the prior year.

For its fiscal 2011, net revenue was up 4.9% to $1.5 billion. Total comparable store sales increased 0.1% during fiscal 2011. In North America, comparable store sales increased 2.8% while they decreased 4.4% in Europe. Excluding foreign currency translations, net sales for the year would have increased 2.7%.

Looking ahead, Claire’s projects first quarter comparable store sales in the “low negative single digits.”