Casual shoe designer and producer Phoenix Footwear Group Inc on Thursday reported a 24.3 per cent jump in full-year net income to $1.7 million from $1.3m in the year-ago period.

The Maine-based company, whose brands include Trotters and Softwalk, said net sales for 2002 fell to $36.2m from $46.9m due to the loss of sales generated by divested Slipper Brands.

For the fourth quarter, sales fell to $7.4m from $14.6m while net income was just over $200,000 versus $1.5m in 2001 when the firm enjoyed a pre-tax gain of $1.2m. In the latest quarter the firm reported one-off charges of $413,000.

Chairman and CEO, James Riedman, said: "Our combined shoe brands generated increased sales in the fourth quarter and full year despite the challenging economic climate.

"Our product discipline, combined with our continued debt reduction program and emphasis on cost controls, supported our 24.3 per cent increase in net income for 2002.

"In 2003 we remain focused on growing the distribution of our Trotters and SoftWalk brands, while prudently seeking acquisition opportunities that can further bolster our revenues and profits. We expect to continue to report solid top and bottom- line growth in the full year ahead."