Sales & profit trend improve in each quarter - Urban Outfitters
Urban Outfitters Inc a leading lifestyle specialty retail company operating under the Anthropologie, Free People, Leifsdottir, Terrain and Urban Outfitters brands, announced record earnings of $78 million and $220 million for the fourth quarter and year ended January 31, 2010, respectively. Earnings per diluted share were $0.45 for the quarter and $1.28 for the year.
As stated in the Company's previous sales release on February 4, 2010, total Company sales for the fourth quarter reached a record $589 million, an increase of 16% over the comparable quarter last year. Comparable retail segment sales, which include our direct-to-consumer channels, increased 9% for the quarter. Comparable store sales rose 10% and 11% at Anthropologie and Free People, respectively and were flat at Urban Outfitters, for a combined comparable store sales increase of 4%. Direct-to-consumer sales surged 28% reflecting strong growth across all brands and wholesale sales continued to improve as compared to previous quarterly trends, down 2% versus the same quarter last year. Total Company net sales for the year ended January 31, 2010 increased 6%, to a record $1.9 billion.
"We are delighted to announce a series of record-breaking results for the quarter and year, including quarterly earnings growth of 92% and a quarterly operating profit of 20%," said Glen T. Senk, Chief Executive Officer. "The sales and profit trend improved in each quarter throughout 2009, and our current February 'comp' sales performance exceeded our fourth quarter 'comp'. Our team continued to exhibit exceptional discipline in managing expenses while simultaneously making strategic investments in design, the supply chain, technology, International, Direct-to-consumer and our newest businesses, Terrain and Leifsdottir," continued Mr. Senk.
For the fourth quarter ended January 31, 2010, gross profit margin improved by 771 basis points, versus the prior year's comparable quarter. The increase was primarily due to significant improvements in initial merchandise margins and a reduction in merchandise markdowns. For the year ended January 31, 2010, gross profit margin increased by 168 basis points versus the prior comparable year. This increase was primarily due to improvements in initial merchandise margins that were partially offset by a higher rate of store occupancy expense driven by the decrease in comparable store sales.
As of January 31, 2010, inventories increased by $16.4 million or 9.7% on a year-over-year basis. This increase was primarily due to the acquisition of inventory to stock new retail stores. For the quarter ended January 31, 2010, total comparable store inventories decreased by 3% at cost.
For the fourth quarter ended January 31, 2010, selling, general and administrative expenses, expressed as a percentage of net sales, decreased by one basis point versus the prior year's comparable quarter. This reduction was primarily driven by cost control across all areas of the business, with the most impact coming from direct store related expenses. These reductions were partially offset by an increase in incentive based compensation related to meeting annual performance targets. For the year ended January 31, 2010, selling, general and administrative expenses expressed as a percentage of net sales increased by 51 basis points versus the prior comparable year. This increase was related to an increase in incentive based compensation partially offset by cost control across all other areas of the business with direct store controllable representing the most significant savings.