• Net income of $17.5m
  • Sales up 16.7% to $435.7m
  • Direct sales up 42%

Leading women's fashion retailer Chico's FAS has posted considerably improved fourth quarter results with both net income and revenue showing an upswing.

The US-based operator recorded net income of $17.5m - up from a loss in the comparable period last year of $40.5m - on sales up 16.7% to $435.7m

As well as fourth quarter net income and net sales increases for 2009, Chico's unveiled a fiscal year boost in the same arenas to $69.6m and $1.71bn respectively.

And adding to the company's robust performance, Chico's noted consolidated comparable Q4 store sales rose 14.6% compared to a 13% decrease. Fiscal year store sales increased 6.1% compared with a 15.1% fall the previous year.

Specifically, Chico's/Soma Intimates brands' comparable store sales were up 11.6% compared with a prior-year 16.1% decrease. White House/Black Market store sales rose 21.2% compared to a 5% fall.

The same brands' fiscal year performance saw increases of 4.1% and 10.8%, compared to 17.4% and 8%.

Direct-to-consumer Q4 sales - not included in comparable store sales - rose 42% and around 39% for the fiscal year.

Selling, general and administrative expenses fell to $212m in Q4 from $228m. Store operating expenses rose $4.6m due to rises in occupancy and personnel costs.

Marketing expenses rose $0.4m mainly due to an increase in print and television advertising associated with national campaigns.

End of year inventories rose $6.1m.