• Q4 net income climbed 21% to $25.1m from $20.7m
  • Net sales rose 19.8% to $569.2m from $475.0m
  • Comparable sales increased 8.7% 

Women's wear retailer Chico's FAS Inc has booked a 21% jump in fourth quarter profit, thanks to higher sales across all its stores and the acquisition of online retailer Boston Proper in September.

The retailer also forecast sales in the year ahead would rise at a mid teens percentage rate to around $2.5bn, with same-store sales growth at a mid-single-digit rate. 

But discounting at the Chico's brand is likely to continue to weigh on margins, it said. During the fourth quarter, gross margin rose 17.9% to $297.9m, but dropped 90 basis points as a percentage of net sales, to 52.3%. For fiscal 2012, gross margin rate is seen down by around 50 basis points.

Profit for the fiscal year to 28 January was up 22% to $140.9m, or $0.82 per share, up from $115.4m, or $0.64 per share, the year before. And net sales rose 15.8% to $2.2bn.