Fashion group Guess? Inc has reported net earnings of $11.8 million for the fourth quarter, up from $4.6m in the same period a year prior.

The Los Angeles-based company also recorded total net revenue of $199.3m for the three-month period, an increase of 19.1 per cent over fourth quarter 2002.

According to COO Carlos Alberini, the improved quarterly results constituted an "excellent performance" for Guess?.

"Results were driven by higher sales and a significant gross margin increase in the period coupled with continued cost control," he said.

"Our retail segment generated the greatest gains, with operating income up by $15.4m, or 160.4 per cent, a testament to the leverage of our retail business model and its significant opportunity for growth."

Alberini said the company would build on its "strong business momentum" and improved balance sheet in 2004.