• Q1 profit rises 11% to $4.3m
  • Sales down 0.3% to $134.8m
  • Comparable store sales up 0.7% 

Destination Maternity has booked an 11% increase in first-quarter net profit, despite lower sales in what the company described as a difficult retail environment.

The US maternity wear retailer today (30 January) said net income reached US$4.3m for the three months to 31 December, compared to $3.8m in the same period of the prior year.

Sales, however, came in below company expectations by slipping 0.3% to $134.8m from $135.3m, after efforts to close underperforming stores offset a 0.7% comparable store sales increase.

CEO Ed Krell said: "Our sales for the quarter were somewhat weaker than planned, reflecting the continued challenging overall economic environment which affected many retailers in the recent holiday shopping season.

"Although our sales for the quarter were slightly below the low end of our expected sales range, it represents our sixth consecutive quarter of achieving a comparable sales increase, showing the continued progress we have made with our sales initiatives, while maintaining strong operational and expense discipline."

Destination Maternity expects full-year earnings per share to range from $1.61 to $1.79, compared to $1.78 in 2013.

Sales are expected to reach $539-$550m, up on last year's $540.3m, while comparable store sales are forecast to increase between 1% and 3%.