• Fourth-quarter net earnings down 86.8%
  • Operating profit up 67.9%
  • Net sales up 27% to $13.6m
  • Full-year earnings down 

Clothing maker Oxford Industries Inc, owner of brands such as Ben Sherman, Oxford Golf and Lilly Pulitzer, posted an 86.8% decline in its fourth-quarter earnings.

The company reported net earnings of US$7.1m, compared to $53.4m the same period last year. Operating income jumped 67.9% to $13.6m.

Net sales rose 27% to $199.7m, due to an increase in sales at Tommy Bahama and Ben Sherman, as well as sales relating to the Lilly Pulitzer business.

J Hicks Lanier, chairman and CEO of Oxford Industries said: "We were delighted with very strong fourth quarter results that capped an excellent performance for fiscal 2011. In particular, our Tommy Bahama and Lilly Pulitzer businesses continued the strength they had shown throughout the year in retail and e-commerce and carried it through the holiday season and into January."

During the quarter, Tommy Bahama sales increased 17% to $127.6m. Operating income jumped to $18.8m, compared to $15.6m the same period last year.

Net sales for Lilly Pulitzer surged 44% to $23.1m. Operating income in the quarter was $2.0m compared to a loss of $0.4 million the prior year.

Ben Sherman saw net sales reach $25.9m, up from $20.9m a year ago. This was due to increased sales in Europe and the US, while it made an operating loss of $300,000.

Lanier Clothes, meanwhile, posted net sales of $19.8m, up slightly from $19.7m last year. Operating income slumped to $1.5m, compared to $1.8m last year.

For the full-year ended 28 January, net earnings dropped 62.6% to $29.4m, while operating profit jumped 69.2% to $40.7m. Net sales increased 26% to $758.9m.

Looking forward, the company expects "solid" sales and earnings growth with sales of between $840m and $855m. Oxford Industries aims to open stores in Asia and 10-12 in the US under the Tommy Bahama brand. 

"In addition, we will continue to make the necessary investments to fuel continued growth in e-commerce for both Tommy and Lilly. We believe these investments will support the long-term growth of our company and help generate strong returns for our shareholders," Lanier added.