Fashion footwear company Steven Madden Ltd has reported a higher fourth-quarter gross margin as a result of price pressure in its wholesale business and higher costs of goods sold.

Fourth-quarter gross margin grew 32.2 per cent compared to the year-ago increase of 38.2 per cent.
Sales in the quarter rose 18.9 per cent to $84.5 million from $17.1m in the same period last year.

Net income totalled $0.4m compared to $2.6m in the fourth quarter of 2003.

Richard Olicker, president and chief operating officer, said that the company would continue with its strategies to decrease "certain expenses across select wholesale divisions".

Olicker also announced that Amelia Newton, who has been with the company since 1996, is being promoted to the role of executive vice president of wholesale sales.