Clothing retailer Lindex AB has swung into a fourth quarter profit of SEK114 million from a SEK5 million loss in the same period last year. Rising sales and operating margins coupled with reduced staff costs were said to be behind the improved results.

Sales during the quarter rose 1.7 per cent to SEK1.341 billion. Same store sales excluding currency effects rose 1.8 per cent from a 2.4 per cent fall for the same period last year.

The gross margin strengthened significantly during the fourth quarter to 56.8 per cent compared with 50.9 per cent.

For the financial year ended 31 August, Lindex said its net profit increased to SEK309 million from a SEK76 million loss. Operating profit rose to SEK391 million from SEK28 million.

Sales for the full year fell by 2.8 per cent to SEK5.20 billion from SEK5.35 billion. Same stores sales, excluding the currency effect, fell by 1.4 per cent compared with the previous year. The gross margin for the 2004/2005 financial year increased to 57.5% from 53.2%.

Lindex is planning to expand its operation in the next few years with additional stores in the Nordic markets, Germany and in the Baltic States. In total, it will open 20-30 new stores per annum during the next few years.