Fashion retailer for girls and young women, Too Inc, on Wednesday posted a fourth quarter net profit of $25.1 million verus $24.8m in the year-ago period despite a slip in sales to $183m from $191.8m.

The Ohio-based operator of 510 stores said for the full year, net income grew 20 per cent to $47.3m from $39.6m with sales up seven per cent to $647.5m from $602.7m on the back of a greater store base.

Too had previously announced a fall in mall traffic and a highly promotional sales environment had hurt sales for the November and December holiday shopping period.

The company added today that operational challenges, triggered by the West Coast ports labour dispute, as well as other merchandising issues, hindered holiday sales and forced merchandise margins lower because of increased transportation costs and a greater-than-planned level of markdowns.

The firm added "it's estimating earnings per diluted share for the first half of fiscal 2003 to be flat, given the current economic environment, distractions caused by a potential conflict with Iraq, and the time it will take to reposition its merchandise assortment".

It also expects same-store sales for the first half to slide by six to 10 per cent.