A strong performance in Europe offset sluggish US growth at Tommy Hilfiger Corporation which today reported a 21.1 per cent increase in fourth-quarter earnings to $40.7 million from $33.6 million a year ago.

The Hong Kong based apparel designer said fourth quarter net revenue increased 5.9 per cent to $499.8 million compared to $472.0 million last year.

Within the company's wholesale segment, revenue for the quarter increased 2.7 per cent. The women's wear component achieved an increase of 23.5 per cent, which more than offset decreases of 3.3 per cent and 15.4 per cent in men's wear and children's wear, respectively.

Revenue increased 35.3 per cent in the retail segment, driven by sales in newly opened and expanded outlet and specialty retail stores.

For the year ended 31 March 2002 net revenue was $1.877 billion against $1.881 billion for the prior year. Net income grew 2.7 per cent to $134.5 million from $131.0 million in fiscal 2001.

Tommy Hilfiger expects revenue for fiscal 2003 to be unchanged from 2002, with a low single digit decline in first half revenue offset by second half increases.