Active sports apparel retailer Zumiez saw fourth quarter net income rise by nearly 10% to US$11.3m despite some late softness in sales.

The company's net sales for the three months ended 2 February were up 12.7% to $126.6m, with comparable store sales increasing 4%.

However, growth slowed markedly compared to the same period in 2006, when comparable store sales were 12% up.

Full-year sales were up 27.9% to $381.4m, while net income soared 21% to $25.3m, with comparable store sales for the year up 9.2%.

"While we experienced some softness in sales late in the year, Zumiez still posted record sales and earnings results for both fiscal 2007 and the fourth quarter," said Rick Brooks, president and CEO. "Although there may be some near-term challenges in fiscal 2008, we remain upbeat regarding the long-term prospects for Zumiez. We believe we are making the right investments and decisions to prudently manage through 2008, while keeping long-term profitable growth as our highest priority."

Zumiez projected diluted earnings per share for fiscal 2008 of $0.90-0.93, based on anticipated square footage growth of about 20%, and a flat to low single-digit in comparable store sales.

The company is set to open about 57 new stores in 2008, in line with long-term expansion plans.