US footwear group Deckers Outdoor has reported improved fourth quarter and full-year profits, benefiting from continued strong sales of its Ugg brand and international growth.

Full-year net income rose 37% to US$117m, compared with $74m in 2008, after net sales increased 17.9% to $813.2m.  

Fourth quarter net income was $68m, compared to $40.3m in the same period last year, with net sales up 14.7% to $348m.

Deckers said that its Ugg brand sales increased 15.7% to $333.3m in the final quarter, and increased 22.3% to $711.8m in the full-year.

Meanwhile, the group's international sales increased 54.9% to $167.2m during the full-year, and grew 96% in the fourth quarter.

Angel Martinez, president, CEO and chairman of the board of directors, said: "We are extremely pleased with our fourth quarter results and strong finish for the year. During the holiday season, we experienced robust demand for the entire Ugg brand product line, with the performance of several new styles far exceeding expectations.

"Sell-through was particularly strong at our company-owned retail stores and on our e-commerce websites, which helped us increase earnings substantially during the fourth quarter. Our ability to successfully develop new and compelling footwear, penetrate additional categories, profitably grow our consumer direct division, and expand internationally is driving our current performance, while at the same time creating new growth opportunities for the future. 2009 was not without its challenges. The difficult retail environment negatively impacted our other brands as the majority of our accounts carried much less inventory and bought closer to season compared to prior years.

"That said, the Teva brand experienced better sell-through on the strength of new product introductions and was able to gain market share in a challenging year. In addition, improved inventory management led to lower closeout sales and increased margins. The Simple brand also performed well at retail, especially with major accounts like Nordstrom and Journeys. We are excited about several new product introductions for 2010 and believe a renewed emphasis on balancing style and sustainability will broaden our consumer base and enhance the brand's market position."

The company expects 2010 full-year diluted earnings per share to increase approximately 5% over the non-GAAP diluted EPS of $8.94 in 2009.