The Neiman Marcus Group Inc on Tuesday announced it swung to fourth quarter profit of $5 million compared to a year-ago $21m loss as it kept tight control of inventories and operating expenses.

The Texas-based company said revenues in the 14 week quarter jumped to $666m from $636m while for the 53-week fiscal 2002, total revenues fell to $2.95 billion from $3.02bn and net profit slipped to $100m from $107m.

Quarterly revenues for the Specialty Retail Stores segment, which consists of Neiman Marcus Stores and Bergdorf Goodman, were $553m versus $531m, with revenues up 4.8 per cent at Neiman Marcus but down 0.3 per cent at Bergdorf Goodman.

President and CEO, Burton Tanksy, commented: "We maintained our tight control of inventory, eliminated certain promotional events and concentrated on our core customer which ... allowed us to achieve a 350 basis point improvement in gross margin, resulting in a significant profit improvement from last year."

"As we enter the new year, we are enthusiastic about our new Fall merchandise; however, the retail environment remains unclear."

He added: "Despite these uncertainties, we are currently anticipating comparable store sales to improve in the low to mid-single digit range for the Fall season."