• Acting-CEO Bruce Smith has been appointed to the position on a permanent basis.
  • The US value retailer saw net income slip to US$5.2m in the fourth quarter.
  • Total sales increased 14.4% to $212.1m in the period.

Citi Trends has hailed a comparable sales increase as the "highlight" of its fourth-quarter as the US value fashion retailer promoted Bruce Smith to permanent CEO.

For the 14 weeks ended 3 February, the company said net income totalled US$5.2m compared with $5.6m in the year-ago period. It acknowledged $1.6m of expense in the quarter, resulting from the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017.

Total sales, meanwhile, increased 14.4% to $212.1m, compared with $185.5m in the 13-week quarter last year. Citi Trends said the extra week contributed $11.8m to total sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017.

"Fourth-quarter sales and earnings continued to build on the broad-based strength in all five of our major merchandise categories that we saw in the first three quarters of the year," noted Smith. "The highlight of the quarter was a 5.6% comparable store sales increase, particularly since it was on top of a 3.4% increase in last year's fourth quarter. In addition, expenses were very well-controlled and inventory turns continued to improve. As we have entered fiscal 2018, comparable store sales are up 3% through yesterday."

Smith, who has been acting as CEO since March of last year, was promoted to the position on a permanent basis last week. He has been with the business for almost 11 years, previously serving as chief financial officer.

"Over the years, Bruce has proven to be an executive who leads by example, exhibiting the highest level of honesty and integrity. I am confident that the company is in good hands with Bruce. This is a great day for Citi Trends, and under his direction and leadership, I remain optimistic about the future of our company," said Ed Anderson, executive chairman of the board.

Meanwhile, following Smith's promotion, Stuart Clifford, the company's vice president of finance, will now serve as senior vice president and CFO. Clifford has been with Citi Trends for 12 years.

Looking ahead, Citi Trends said it expects comparable store sales to increase in the range of 2% to 3%, on top of the 4.5% increase in fiscal 2017, and total sales to increase in the range of 3% to 4% in the year ahead.