Charlotte Russe Holding's income from continuing operations for the fourth quarter was $8.4m as compared to $12.7m for the same quarter last year, a decrease of 33.6%, as weakening consumer spending took its toll.

The company, a mall-based specialty retailer of apparel and accessories for young women, said that for the fourth quarter ended 29 September its sales rose 0.9% to US$190.3m.

Same-store sales for the fourth quarter period decreased 5.3%. For the year ended 29 September, Russe's sales rose 8.7% to $740.9m, while same-store sales for the period increased 0.5%. Income from continuing operations for fiscal 2007 was $36.3m as compared to $37.2m for the same period last year, a decrease of 2.3%.
The company opened 24 new Charlotte Russe stores in the fourth quarter for a total of 50 new stores for fiscal 2007.

Mark Hoffman, Charlotte Russe CEO, said: "The weakening consumer spend and traffic in our stores that began in June continued through July. While we experienced an improved trend in both August and September, it was not enough to offset the slow start to the quarter. As a result, comparable store sales were down 5.3% for the fourth quarter. Earnings per share for the fourth quarter were 33 cents, only slightly below our guidance range due to focused inventory management and cost control.

"Fiscal 2007 was an important year for us. We successfully opened 50 new stores in markets across the country and we remodeled 32 additional stores to our "brite" store format. We continued our strategy of measured investments in our people and infrastructure. These investments included a new point-of-sale (POS) system chainwide, our new E-Commerce website and our markdown optimization software to complement our merchandising systems. We also continued to build and strengthen our leadership team through hiring, retention and development."

In its outlook, the company guided investors to expect a flat to low single digit decline in same-store sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2008.