Leading casual apparel chain American Eagle Outfitters Inc on Tuesday posted a fall in fourth quarter net profit to $38.9 million from $43.9m in the year prior amid a 4.6 per cent slip in group same-store sales.

The Pennsylvania-based operator of more than 800 stores said in a news release total sales for the 13 weeks to February 1 rose 5.9 per cent to $491.6m from $464.3m with same-store sales at its American Eagle stores down three per cent.

For the full year, the company said net income fell to $88.7m from $105.5m with total sales up 6.7 per cent to $1.463 billion from $1.372bn and consolidated same-store sales down 5.7 per cent from 2002.

"Regarding current month sales, February is trending below plan, due to weak mall traffic, likely spurred by colder than average weather, snowstorms and the high terror alert," American Eagle added.