• Q4 net income jumped 93% to $5.2m 
  • Net sales slipped 0.7% to $128.5m
  • Comparable sales increased 2.7%

Maternity wear retailer Destination Maternity has nearly doubled its fourth quarter earnings thanks to efforts to improve its merchandise and keep a tight rein on costs.

The company, which runs 625 under the Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod, and Destination Maternity names, said net income jumped 93% to $5.2m or $0.39 per share in the three months to 30 September.

This compared with $2.7m or $0.20 per share in last year's fourth quarter. 

Net sales at the retailer, which also has 1,383 leased department store locations, slipped 0.7% to $128.5m from $129.4m, partly due to the closure of underperforming stores. Comparable sales, which include internet sales, increased 2.7%.

"We are pleased with the strong improvement of our sales performance for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, which was driven by strong sales of our fall 2012 merchandise assortments," said CEO Ed Krell.

For the year, the company earned $19.4m, or $1.46 per share, a drop of 15.7% on last year's $23m, or $1.75 per share. Revenue fell 0.7% to $541.5m from $545.4m, while comparable sales slipped 0.3%.

Looking forward, Krell said: "We are confident that we can continue to improve our sales performance and position our company for continued future growth, by continuing to enhance our merchandise assortments, merchandise presentation, store environment and customer experience, and continuing to focus on our strategic plan."

Projected full year guidance is for earnings per share of $1.56 to $1.74 - an increase of between 7% and 19% on the year before - with revenue dropping to $536m to $549m.

For the first quarter the retailer sees earnings per share of between $0.25 and $0.32, on revenues in the range of $132.5m to $136.5m.