Leading teen apparel chain Pacific Sunwear of California Inc on Monday posted a 63.2 per cent leap in fourth quarter net profit to $23.2 million from $14.2m in the year-ago period on the back of higher sales.

The Anaheim-based operator of nearly 800 stores said total sales for the period climbed almost 28 per cent to $265.6m from $207.6m with same-store sales up 15.6 per cent.

The company added in a news release February same-store sales rose 14.8 per cent with same-store sales at its PacSun stores up 10 per cent last month and same-store sales at its demo stores up a whopping 49 per cent.

For the full year, PacSun enjoyed an 80 per cent surge in net profit to $49.7m from $27.6m in 2001 thanks in part to a 23.6 per cent jump in total sales to $846.4m from $684.8m.

"I am very pleased with our fourth quarter performance with earnings up 63 per cent and same store sales up 15.6 per cent," commented Greg Weaver, chairman and CEO.

"At PacSun, we are gaining market share with the help of multiple brands and a growing girls business. At demo, we have substantially improved our overall merchandising in addition to growing our girls and accessory businesses."

He added: "Our goal of improving our financial performance and operating margins is very much on track. For fiscal 2002, we achieved an 80 per cent increase in net earnings with operating income of $81.2m, or 9.6 per cent of sales.

"Our goal would be to improve operating margins to 12 per cent for fiscal 2004 with square footage growth of at least 12 per cent in fiscal 2003 and at least 10 per cent in fiscal 2004."