Luxury retailer Saks Incorporated has posted an 82.9% hike in fourth quarter profit, helped by strong sales, a one-time gain and higher tourist traffic.

The New York based company said yesterday (6 March) that net income for the three months to 2 February was $39.5m, or $0.26 per share, compared with $21.6m, or $0.14 per share, in the same period last year.

The fourth quarter included a net gain of $10.4m, or $0.07 per share, it added.

Saks, which operates the Saks Fifth Avenue and Club Libby Lu stores, said sales rose 4.7% in the quarter to $999.7m, with same-store sales up 9.0%.

However, Stephen I Sadove, chairman and chief executive officer, warned that sales momentum "began slowing in the latter part of the fourth quarter," particularly in handbags, footwear, and men's products.

For the year, Saks swung to a profit of $47.5m, or $.31 per share, from a loss from of $7.3m, or $.05 per share in the previous year.

Total sales rose 11.7% to $3,282.6m in the 12 months, with same-store sales up by the same amount.

In his outlook for 2008, Sadove said he remains "very positive about the long-term prospects for the luxury sector and specifically for our Saks Fifth Avenue business."

But added: "We expect to continue to face an increasingly challenging macroeconomic and promotional environment in 2008 and are taking a more conservative approach to planning the business for this year."
The Company operates 54 Saks Fifth Avenue stores, 48 Saks Off 5th stores,, and Club Libby Lu specialty stores.