Syms Corp experienced robust gains in fourth-quarter and full-year profits despite modest sales gains in the two periods.

For the three months ended 3 March, net income hit US$3.2m, or $0.22 a share, 32.2% above the $2.4m, or $0.16, reported during the prior-year period.

Net sales for the more recent 14-week period increased 3.6% to $79.5m from $76.8m during the 13-week year-earlier quarter. Same-store sales rose 4.8% during the quarter.

The company estimated that the extra week of selling in the more recent period added $3.6m in net sales, a figure greater than its $2.7m quarterly sales increase as well as the $789,000 advance in annual sales.

Gross margin rose to 40.4% of sales from 39.6% in the comparable 2005 period.

For the year, net income was nearly 2.8 times the prior-year level, bounding to $9.5m, or $0.66 a share, from $3.4m, or $0.23, in 2005.

However, the more recent year benefited from a $10.4m pre-tax gain from the sale of real estate in Dallas, Texas, and Rochester, NY. The company didn't provide an after-tax figure for the real-estate benefit.

Sales for the year rose 0.3% to $281.2m from $280.4m in 2005. Same-store sales rose 1.2%. Gross margin was flat at 40.3% of sales in both periods.

Syms operates 34 off-price apparel stores in the eastern part of the US. Its Dallas stores have been replaced by a leased location in Plano, Texas.
 
By Arnold J Karr.