Saks 4Q Profit Beats Street, Sees More Growth in '12

By Retail FOXBusiness

Led by improved online sales, Saks (SKS) revealed a stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday and forecast sales growth at its luxury department stores.

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Saks, which has benefited from an uptick in luxury spending, is looking for comparable sales growth between 5% and 7% for the fiscal year, with the gross margin rate modestly above the 40.8% rate.

The department-store chain reported quarterly net income of $37 million, or 21 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier $25 million, or 14 cents.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 17 cents, ahead of average analyst estimates of 14 cents in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue for the three months ended Jan. 28 was $925.1 million, up from $866.3 million a year ago, beating the Street’s view of $919.5 million. Sales at comparable stores grew 7.7%, in line with Saks’ forecast, while Saks Direct sales rose 21%.

Saks chief executive Stephen Sadove attributed the improvement to gains across men’s and women’s apparel, handbags, fine jewelry, fragrances and men’s accessories. Sales at the company’s flagship store were in line with expectations.

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“Our customers responded to our edited merchandise assortments, our enhanced service levels whether shopping in store or online, and our creative and compelling marketing campaigns,” Sadove said.

Shares of Saks were up about 2.5% to $11.13 Tuesday morning.

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