• Q4 profit rose 8.2% to $15.8m
  • Sales increased 19.5% to $110.9m
  • Same-store sales were up 7.2% 

A shift in focus towards operating its own branded retail stores has helped upscale jeans seller True Religion Apparel Inc to an 8.2% rise in fourth quarter profit.

Net income in the three months to 31 December rose to $15.8m or $0.63 per share, from $14.6m or $0.59 per share in the same period last year.

Total sales increased 19.5% to $110.9m, led by a 38.4% rise in the US Consumer Direct segment, which includes the branded retail stores and e-commerce site. The company's 94 US stores account for 56.3% of its revenues, worth $62.5m. Same-store sales increased 7.2%.

And international sales in the quarter jumped 29.2% to $18.9m, driven by the transition to a joint venture in Germany as well as sales increases in Korea and the United Kingdom.

But US wholesale revenues fell 10.9% to $28.1m on lower sales of women's premium denim in the department store channel. While licensing revenue was flat at $1.4m.

"This quarter's International sales growth supports our decision to take more direct control of key markets in order to effectively manage the business for long-term success and capture the very large opportunities that exist for our brand," noted Jeffrey Lubell, chairman and CEO.

"Overall, we remain very confident and committed to our business strategy."

For the full year, profit slipped 8% to $43.5m or $1.75 per share, down from $47.3m or $1.92 per share last time. Annual sales increased 16.9% to $363.7m.

Looking ahead, True Religion says it expects full-year earnings of $1.80 per share on sales of $405m.