Chico's Posts Record Net Income for Q4, Year

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Double-digit increases, with several producing records for the company, characterized fourth-quarter and fiscal-year results announced yesterday by Chico's FAS Inc.

For the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, net income ballooned 50.1 percent to a record $100 million compared with the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, 2003. Net sales in the fiscal year jumped 44.7 percent. Also, comparable-store sales for company-owned stores rose 16.1 percent for the fiscal year.

In the quarter ended Jan. 31, net income skyrocketed 70.3 percent to a record $26 million. Net sales climbed 55.8 percent to a record $216 million. Comparable-store sales for the company-owned stores improved 20.5 percent.

The direct marketing segment contributed to the impressive performance as net sales by catalog and Internet for the year improved to $22.78 million from $16.07 million in the previous fiscal year. In the fourth quarter, catalog and Internet generated $5.7 million versus $5.15 million in the comparable period ended Feb. 1, 2003.

Also yesterday, The Neiman Marcus Group Inc. reported increases in its quarterly, monthly and six-month results compared with the same periods a year ago.

During the quarter ended Jan. 31, it posted total revenue of $1.05 billion compared with $938 million in the previous year. Net earnings reached $59 million in the second quarter compared with $32 million last year. The company surpassed $1 billion in quarterly sales for the first time.

Neiman Marcus Direct posted second-quarter revenue of $191 million compared with $161 million in the prior year. Operating earnings for Neiman Marcus Direct increased to $25 million in the second quarter from $18 million a year ago.

In the 26-week period, total revenue improved 11.5 percent. Net earnings totaled $115 million compared with $61 million in the 26 weeks ended Feb. 1, 2003.

For the four weeks ended Feb. 28, preliminary company-wide revenue reached $259 million, up from $208 million in the comparable period ended March 1, 2003. Comparable revenue at Neiman Marcus Direct in the four-week February period improved 9.4 percent.

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