Leading footwear designer and marketer Maxwell Shoe Co Inc on Thursday reported a 12.1 per cent climb in fourth quarter net profit to $4.1 million from $3.7m in the year-ago period thanks to soaring sales.

The Massachusetts-based company, whose brands include Joan & David, AK Anne Klein, and Sam & Libby, said net sales for the 13 weeks ended October 31 climbed 22 per cent to $65m from $53.2m in 2001.

It added for fiscal 2002, net sales rose 12.1 per cent to $204.4m from $182.2m with full-year net income up eight per cent to $13.3m from $12.3m.

"We are gratified to report record fourth quarter results, including a 22.3 per cent gain in sales and a 12.1 per cent increase in net income," said delighted chairman and CEO Mark Cocozza in a statement.

"While these accomplishments are noteworthy on their own, we are particularly pleased to have achieved such success in a weak retail environment. This is a powerful testament to our continuing ability to effectively execute a diversified brand strategy."

The company added it sees fiscal 2003 sales in the range of $218m to $222m.