In the fourth quarter, there were net sales of $1.2 billion, reflecting a combined adverse impact of approximately 6 per cent due to the calendar shift, the loss of fiscal 2017's 53rd week and foreign currency fluctuations. For the full year, net sales grew 3 per cent to $3.6 billion.
"We ended 2018 on a strong note, recording our sixth consecutive quarter and second consecutive full year of positive comparable sales while exceeding $1 billion in annual digital sales. I am proud of our team and all we have accomplished this year. Most importantly, while delivering on the top-line, we drove gross profit rate improvement and operating expense leverage resulting in 100 basis points of adjusted EBIT margin expansion and a 77 per cent improvement in adjusted net income for the full year," Fran Horowitz, chief executive officer, said.
Marketing, general and administrative expense in the fourth quarter was $118.9 million, down from $128.1 million last year. Excluding certain items last year, adjusted non-Gaap marketing, general and administrative expense decreased $5.2 million, primarily due to the adverse impact of the additional week on last year's expense and a reduction in depreciation expense on IT assets. This was partially offset by continued investments in marketing.
"We continue to keep the customer at the center of everything we do and are excited about the future of our brands. Our transformation initiatives are gaining traction and keeping us on track to deliver our previously disclosed fiscal 2020 targets," Horowitz.
For fiscal 2019, the company expects net sales to be up in the range of 2 to 4 per cent, driven by positive comparable sales and net new store contribution, partially offset by an adverse impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates of approximately $15 million primarily in the first quarter of fiscal 2019. Comparable sales is likely to be up low-single digits. Gross profit rate is expected to be up slightly from the fiscal 2018 rate of 60.2 per cent. (RR)
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