In the most recent fourth-quarter filings from US apparel and footwear brands and retailers, Destination XL moved to a profit but booked lower sales, while Caleres moved to a loss in the quarter. VF Corporation, meanwhile, revealed a fall in both sales and earnings for the quarter, while Stein Mart moved to a loss as a result of "aggressive" promotions. 

Cherokee Global Brands

Cherokee booked a mixed fourth-quarter with GAAP net losses amounting to US$10.6m from a profit of $1.4m a year earlier, as a result of costs related to its acquisition of Hi-Tec. Meanwhile, non-GAAP net income reached $1.75m from $1.71m last year. Net sales were also up, reaching $8.4m from $7.8m in the year-ago period. Decreases in the company's domestic market were offset by growth globally, particularly in South America, Europe, Japan and South Africa. CEO Henry Stupp, said: "Through our organic growth initiatives and platform acquisitions, we have transformed the company into a global, diversified enterprise."

Meanwhile, Stupp added the company's spring 2017 multi-category launch for its Cherokee brand in the US is underway and has received a "very positive" response from retail partners and customers.

Vince Holding Corp

Vince Holding said its fourth-quarter results came in below expectations, with challenges related to its systems conversion leading to delayed shipments of spring product and off-price shipments, as well as lower than expected performance in its pre-spring collection. For the period ended 28 January, the company recorded a net loss of US$162.1m, compared to net income of $1.8m last year. Net sales meanwhile, decreased 21.9% to $63.9m from $81.8m in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015. For the full year, Vince booked a net loss of $162.7m, compared to net income of $5.1m in the year-ago period. Net sales decreased 11.3% to $268.2m from $302.5m.

Meanwhile, Vince said management has concluded that there is "there is substantial doubt" about the company's ability to continue as a going concern over the course of the next year, specifically relating to its ability to comply with the consolidated net total leverage ratio under its term loan facility.

CEO Brendan Hoffman said the company has made the "prudent decision" to suspendits sales and EPS guidance as it works to make its new systems more efficient and complete its business transition.

Destination Maternity Corporation 

Destination Maternity widened its adjusted net losses in the fourth quarter, despite continuing to advance on its key strategies. For the three months ended 28 January, net losses amounted to US$32.8m from $3.06m in the prior year. The figure included a one-time $27.8m non-cash income tax charge. Excluding one-time charges, losses amounted to $3.2m from $1.5m. Gross margin was up 120 basis points to 51% from 49.8% last year. Net sales were also down, falling to $100.2m compared with $118.3m in the prior year quarter, primarily driven by the wind down of the Kohl's, Sears and Gordmans relationships and by a 7.8% decline in comparable sales.

G-III Apparel

G-III Apparel said it plans to initiate a number of new product launches in the coming year despite booking a fourth-quarter net loss of US$20.1m, compared to net income of $8m in the year-ago period. Net sales, meanwhile, were up 14.4% in the period, reaching $603m from $527m last year, reflecting strength in the company's non-outerwear wholesale business and the inclusion of approximately $29m of net sales from the DKI business in the last two months of the quarter. CEO Morris Goldfarb, said the mid-year re-launch of the DKNY and Donna Karan brands will have a "positive impact" in the second half of the year.

The Finish Line

Athletic footwear and apparel retailer The Finish Line said its fourth-quarter earnings performance represented a disappointing finish to a financially challenging year for the company, with net sales falling 0.4% year-on-year to US$557.5m. Same-store sales decreased 4.5%. In the 13 weeks to 25 February, the company made a loss of $9.5m, compared to net income of $4m in the year-ago period. Despite this, CEO Sam Sato said the company is confident that the numerous operational improvements it has made throughout the past year have created a "more efficient company with a stronger foundation to support enhanced profitability and increased shareholder value over the long-term."

Oxford Industries

Oxford Industries booked a mixed fourth-quarter as it saw earnings tumble on charges and sales edge up. In the three months ended 28 January, earnings dropped to US$10m from $17.5m a year earlier. The company incurred $7.1m of charges associated with inventory markdowns, severance and closing three outlet locations related to actions to improve the operating performance of its Tommy Bahama brand. Gross margin was 42 basis points higher at 56.2%, while consolidated net sales increased to $261m compared to $259.6m in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015.

Shoe Carnival

Show carnival has moved to a net loss of US$920,000 in its fourth-quarter from earnings of $4.2m a year earlier as a result of non-cash impairment charges. Gross profit margin narrowed to 27.5% from 29.2%, while net sales edged up $0.5m, or 0.2%, to $234.2m. Comparable store sales were down 1.2%. CEO Cliff Sifford, said: "We believe the strong athletic footwear cycle we experienced during the year will continue into 2017 and we are pleased with the early results from our casual sandal footwear."

PVH Corp

Apparel giant PVH Corp said it was "very pleased" with its fourth quarter results, which exceeded both sales and earnings guidance, despite seeing a 25.1% drop in net income to US$100.5m from $134.2m in the year ago period. For the quarter ended 29 January, revenue of US$2.1bn was flat compared to the prior year period. PVH's Tommy Hilfiger business recorded the highest growth at 3% to $932m, while Calvin Klein revenues fell 1% to $795m. Meanwhile,Heritage Brands' sales decreased 5% to $381m.

CEO Emanuel Chirico said: "We are very pleased with our fourth quarter results, which exceeded both our sales and earnings guidance despite the volatile macroeconomic environment and the highly promotional retail market in the US. We continued to demonstrate strong momentum in our Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger businesses."

Perry Ellis

Perry Ellis said it saw "solid progress" on its strategic plan in the fourth quarter, which led to sales growth in its core global brands, expansion in gross margin and earnings in line with guidance. For the three month period, as reported under GAAP, net income was US$9m, compared to a loss of $17.7m in the year-ago period.   Gross margin expanded 150 basis points to 38.7% from 37.2%, while total sales dropped 4.7% to $204.2m from $214.4m last year. This reflected a 1.4% (3.2% on constant currency) increase in men's business including Perry Ellis, Original Penguin, Golf Lifestyle Apparel and Nike, offset by a number of factors, including a comparable sales decline of 6.2% within direct-to-consumer business as store traffic dropped by 15%.

J Crew

US fashion retailer J Crew booked a mixed fourth-quarter as the company moved to a profit but booked lower sales. Net income amounted to US$1.1m from a loss of $7m a year earlier, while gross margin widened to 34.7% from 33.3%. Net sales at J Crew were down 5% to $572.6m from $604.5m last year, while those at Madewell rose 11% to $102.9m from $92.5m in the year-ago period. Meanwhile, total revenues fell 2% to $695m, while comparable company sales decreased 5% following a decline of 4% in the fourth quarter last year. CEO Millard Drexler noted: "While the overall retail environment remains challenging, we continue our disciplined management of expenses and inventory and remain focused on delivering the very best, iconic J.Crew and Madewell products our customers love across all channels. As a team, we are taking important steps to drive improved operational excellence across the company." 

Destination XL Group

Destination XL has booked a mixed fourth-quarter as the company moved to a profit but booked lower sales. Earnings amounted to US$1.8m from a loss of $1.4m a year earlier. Gross margin narrowed to 44.9% from 45.8% due to a drop in merchandise margin and occupancy costs as a percentage of sales. Total sales of $122.6m were down slightly from $124m in the prior-year quarter. Total comparable sales dropped 2.4%, while DXL comparable sales fell 1.9%. "Despite the 2016 retail environment being one of the most challenging in recent memory, we were very pleased to deliver strong growth," said CEO David Levin. "We enter the new fiscal year keenly focused on continuing to grow our customer base by leveraging our fully developed fleet of DXL stores and elevating our digital distribution channel."

Caleres

Footwear retailer Caleres booked a loss of US$6.6m in the fourth quarter, compared to net income of $11.4m in the year-ago period. Gross margin was up 4 basis points to 40.8%, while net sales increased 5.1% to $639.5m, compared to $608.7m last year. "Despite a promotional and challenging retail environment in the fourth quarter, we maintained our consistent approach of managing the areas under our control while continuing to rapidly respond to changing consumer shopping behaviours," said CEO Diane Sullivan.  

Cato Corp

Cato Corp reported a net loss of US$12.8m for the fourth quarter, compared to net income of $11.8m in the year-ago period. Fourth-quarter gross margin decreased to 28.8% of sales from 36.1% of sales in 2015, primarily due to reduced merchandise margins and higher occupancy costs. Sales for the period were $218.2m, a decrease of 12% on last year's $247.3m. Same-store sales were also down 12% for the quarter. CEO John Cato said 2016 was a "very disappointing year" for the company.

He added: "The overall apparel retail environment continued to be difficult and was compounded by several mistakes of our own.  We also are being impacted by the disruption caused by the growth of online sales at other retailers, resulting in lower store traffic.  In the back half of the year, we made several mistakes in our merchandise assortment, fit and timing.  This resulted in significant reductions to regular priced sales causing us to liquidate a large portion of our slow selling inventory which put severe pressure on earnings."

DSW

DSW said its return to year over year earnings growth continued in the fourth quarter, with net income rising 158.5% to US$30.5m, compared to $11.8m in the year-ago period. Gross profit increased by 50 bps, while total sales edged up slightly, increasing 0.4% to  $674.6m. Comparable sales meanwhile, decreased 7% compared to last year's 0.7% increase. CEO Roger Rawlins, said: "After making fundamental changes to our core business last year, we are laser focused on driving comp growth through our merchandise and allocation initiatives and the elevation of our customer's digital experience."

The Bon-Ton Stores

US department store retailer The Bon-Ton Stores saw earnings and revenue decline in the fourth quarter. The York, Pennsylvania-based company recorded net income of US$44.7m, down from $50.6m in the year-ago period. Gross margin increased 145 basis points to 36.2% compared to last year, primarily due to reduced markdowns and lower distribution costs, partially offset by deleverage from lower sales volume. Total sales in the period decreased 5.5% to $877.3m, versus $927.9m last year, while comparable store sales decreased 4.7% as compared with the prior year period.

Tilly's 

Apparel, footwear and accessories retailer Tilly's says it is encouraged by its fourth-quarter results as earnings reached US$6.3m from $2.9m a year earlier. Gross margin dropped to 30.6% from 31.4% last year, primarily due to a 60 basis point decline in product margins from increased markdowns and a 20 basis point increase in buying, distribution and occupancy costs. Total sales edged up 0.7% to $160.2m, while comparable sales were up 0.1%. CEO, Ed Thomas, said: "While we are encouraged by these results, we will continue to seek ways to improve profitability and continue our progress during fiscal 2017."

Genesco

Genesco booked declines in both earnings and revenue during the fourth quarter. Net earnings reached US$46.5m compared to earnings of $44.7m in the year-ago period. Net sales dropped 5% to $883m from $932m, reflecting the sale of the Lids Team Sports business in the fourth quarter of last year and a decrease of approximately 2% in sales from the remaining businesses. Comparable sales, including same store sales and comparable e-commerce and catalogue sales were flat  with an 8% increase in the Lids Sports Group, a 6% decrease in the Journeys Group, a 2% increase in the Schuh Group, and a 1% decrease in the Johnston & Murphy Group. 

Citi Trends 

US value fashion retailer Citi Trends posted profit and sales increases in its fourth-quarter. For the 13 weeks ended 28 January, net income increased 60% to US$5.6m, compared to $3.5m in the year-ago period. Sales were also up, increasing 5.4% to $185.5m from $176.1m last year, while comparable sales grew 3.4%. 

The Buckle

The Buckle booked a drop in both earnings and sales in the fourth quarter, with the former dropping to US$36m from $54.3m a year earlier. Revenues were down 15.7% to $280m from net sales of $332m for the year-ago period, while comparable sales fell 16.1%. Online sales were down 8.8% to $32.2m for the 13-week period ended 28 January. 

Zumiez 

Zumiez said its fourth-quarter earnings performance exceeded expectations,with net income in the period ended 28 January, increasing 38.3% to US$18.2m, compared to $13.1m in the year-ago period. Net sales for the quarter were also up, increasing 8.7% to $263.6m from $242.4m, while comparable sales for the period increased 5.1% compared to a 9.5% decrease last year.

Differential Brands Group

Differential Brands Group, which owns Robert Graham and Hudson Clothing, moved to a loss in its fourth-quarter. For the period ended 31 December, net loss from continuing operations was US$4.9m, compared to net income from continuing operations of $0.7m for the prior year period. Net sales, meanwhile, were up 108% to $42m from $20.3m in the prior year period, primarily due to the addition of the Hudson Jeans and Swims brands, as well as 3% growth in Robert Graham. Gross margin fell to 51.8% compared to 59.9% last year, reflecting the inclusion of Hudson Jeans, which carries a lower gross margin rate as a wholesale business.

Sears Holdings

US retail giant Sears Holdings revealed a widening of its net loss in the quarter to US$607m from $580m a year earlier. Gross margin narrowed slightly from 21.8% to 21.3%, primarily attributed to lower margins in the apparel business, and an increase in promotional activities. Net revenues fell to $6.1bn from $7.3bn in the prior year quarter. CEO Edward Lampert, noted: "We delivered significant Adjusted EBITDA improvement in the fourth quarter, reflecting our firm focus on profitability to offset ongoing revenue pressures. Building on this positive momentum, we are taking decisive actions to become a more agile and competitive retailer with a clear path toward profitability."

Tailored Brands

Tailored Brands, the former Men's Wearhouse, said it has booked a lower than expected fourth-quarter, despite driving its net loss down to US$30.1m, compared to $1.1bn last year. Retail gross margin increased 60 basis points to 39.0%, primarily as a result of "anniversarying" an $11m inventory write-down in last year's fourth-quarter. "Unfortunately, the challenging retail environment resulted in soft traffic across our retail brands, which drove lower than anticipated fourth quarter and full year net sales and gross margins," said CEO Doug Ewert.

Express

Express said its fourth-quarter earnings were in line with its guidance, despite net income dropping to US$22.8m from $56.1m a year earlier. Merchandise margin declined by 330 basis points, driven by increased promotional activity. Net sales fell 11% to $678.8m from $765.6m, while comparable sales (including e-commerce sales) decreased 13%. CEO David Kornberg, noted:  "Despite ongoing pressures in the retail sector, our fourth quarter earnings were in line with previously issued guidance. As expected, our store performance continued to be impacted by challenging mall traffic and a promotional retail environment. As our industry adapts to changing consumer preferences, we continue to invest in our omni-channel and marketing capabilities to ensure that we capitalize on this evolution." 

The Children's Place

The Children's Place has achieved what it says was a "spectacular" year thanks to significant progress on its numerous self-help initiatives. "Our product assortment, supported by a foundation of superior design, sourcing and merchandising capabilities, clearly resonated with our customers," said CEO Jane Elfers. Net income for the quarter almost doubled to US$34.2m from $17.5m a year earlier. Gross margin improved 50 basis points to 36.1% thanks to merchandise margin leverage and a higher Average Unit Retail (AUR). Net sales were up 4.5% to $520.8m on a comparable retail sales increase of 6.9%. For the full year, earnings soared 77% to $102.3m, while net sales were up 3.4% to $1.78bn.

Stein Mart

Stein Mart has revealed a "disappointing" fourth-quarter as the company continued to work through higher than desired inventory levels and the impact of changes to marketing, merchandising and promotions implemented during the third quarter. The company moved to a net loss of US$4.9m from earnings $6.3m a year earlier. Gross margin narrowed to 22.8% from 26.8% a year earlier. Total sales were down 2.2% to $385.5m, while comparable store sales dropped 5.5%. CEO Hunt Hawkins, said: "With our new executive leadership now in place, 2017 will be a year of transition as we refine and organise around our strategies. Lessons learned from last year have us keenly focused on changes we need to make to our business to significantly improve management of our inventories and increase sales productivity."

Weyco Group

Weyco has booked a mixed fourth-quarter as earnings rose but sales fell. For the three month period, net income amounted to US$8.3m from $8.2m a year earlier. The 2015 figure included a $458,000 earnout payment relating to the company's 2011 acquisition of the BOGS/Rafters brands. Without this, earnings would have been down 9%. Net sales for the quarter were down 6% to $82.1m.

Dick's Sporting Goods

Omni-channel sporting goods retailer Dick's Sporting Goods said it was pleased with its fourth-quarter, despite booking a mixed period which saw revenues rise but earnings fall. For the 13 weeks to 28 January, net income fell 30% to US$90.2m, compared to $129m in the year-ago period. Net sales increased 10.9% to US$2.5bn, while same-store sales were up 5.3%. Looking ahead, CEO Edward Stack said the company will "continue to be aggressive" and evolve its business. 

Black Diamond

Black Diamond has narrowed its losses in the fourth quarter, to US$1.39bn from $31.7bn a year earlier. Gross margin narrowed to 29.1% from 33.5%, weighed down by foreign currency headwinds. Sales were down 6% to $41.4m, due to unseasonably dry European winter conditions impacting ski product sales and the company's measured approach to scaling back its apparel line. CEO John Walbrecht, said: "While we still faced foreign exchange headwinds and margin constraints due to our manufacturing repatriation, demand for climbing and mountain products remained strong. We also continued to experience growing momentum in our direct-to-consumer and independent global distributor businesses, as both channels continue to grow in the strong double-digits."

Sequential Brands

Brand management company Sequential Brands narrowed its losses to US$980,000 in the fourth quarter, from $5.7m in the same period last year. Revenue for the three months to 31 December increased 44% to $45.4m, compared to $31.4m in the year-ago period. For the year ending 31 December, 2017, the company is expecting $170m to $175m in revenue. CEO Yehuda Shmidman said: "Looking ahead, despite a challenging macro retail environment, we will remain focused on growing our core business and maximising operating efficiencies, inclusive of new revenue initiatives already underway."

Stage Stores

Stage Stores moved to a loss in the fourth quarter and revealed a drop in sales. For the quarter ended 28 January, net loss was US$6.8m versus a profit of $21m last year. Net sales fell 9.6% to $454.4m, compared to $502.6m in the year-ago period. Comparable sales were down 8.5%. CEO Michael Glazer, noted: "Our fourth-quarter adjusted earnings reflect continued challenges in our oil impacted and border states, as well as the overall soft retail environment. Weak traffic led to heightened promotional activity and gross margin pressure in the quarter, yet we are pleased to end 2016 with inventory levels that are 6% lower than last year. In addition, our direct-to-consumer business grew at a double digit rate as we enhanced our customers' online experience."  

Burlington Stores

Burlington Stores saw both earnings and revenue incense in the fourth quarter, booking a 27.1% rise in net income from US$98.8m to $125.6m in the year ago period. Gross margin expanded 80 basis points to 41.8%, driven by improved shortage results. Net sales were up 9.4%, or $144.9m, to $1.7bn from $1.5bn thanks to a 4.6% increase in comparable store sales and $82.1m in sales from new and non-comparable stores. For the full year, the company expects sales to increase in the range of 7.5% to 8.5%, and comparable sales to be up 2% to 3%.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co

Abercrombie & Fitch said its fourth-quarter results did not meet expectations, despite 2016 being a year of "significant progress" on each of its strategic priorities. Earnings were down 15.4% to US$48.8m, while gross margin narrowed 90 basis points to 59.3%. Net sales fell 7% to $1.04bn, with comparable sales for the quarter down 5%. The Abercrombie brand saw sales drop 13% to $442.4m, while Hollister sales were down 2% to $594m. Sales in all geographies were also down in the quarter, at 8% to $688.2m in the US, and 5% to $348.2m in international markets. CEO Fran Horowitz, said: "We continued to proactively respond to the evolving retail landscape through our store closure and channel optimisation initiatives. While the environment is likely to remain challenging in 2017, we have a strong balance sheet and continue to aggressively manage costs … to position our business for sustainable growth."

Croc's

US footwear firm Crocs  booked revenue in-line with guidance at US$187.4m from $208.7m a year earlier. On a constant-currency basis, revenues fell 10.5%. The company reported a net loss of $40.6m, compared to a loss of $70.2m in the year ago period. CEO Gregg Ribatt said: "Our fourth quarter revenues were in line with our expectations while our adjusted gross margin rate improved by approximately 550 basis points versus prior year. This gross margin gain was less than previously anticipated due to currency and channel mix fluctuations and also to certain one-time events, however we are still on track to achieve our medium-term target for gross margins in the low 50% range." Crocs also revealed Ribbatt will step down as CEO but continue in his board role. Andrew Rees, who joined the company in June 2014 as president, will be promoted to president and CEO, effective 1 June. The company will also close aroundd 160 stores by the end of 2018, reducing its total store count from 558 to around 400. 

American Eagle Outfitters

American Eagle Outfitters booked a decline in both earnings and revenue for the fourth quarter, with net income slipping 33.1% to US$54.6m from $81.7m in the year ago period. Gross margin increased 30 basis points to 35.4%, compared to 35.1% last year. Total revenues decreased 1% to $1.1bn from $1.11bn in the same period last year. Consolidated comparable sales were up slightly, following a 4% increase last year. CEO Jay Schottenstein said: "We've made great progress, yet we have much more opportunity across the marketplace. I'm confident that the strength of our brands and focused priorities will enable us to deliver long-term returns to our shareholders."

Ross Stores

Ross Stores booked fourth-quarter earnings and sales that beat company expectations. Net profit grew 13.8% to US$300.6m from $264.2m last year, while total sales rose 8% to $3.5bn. Comparable store sales were up 4% versus a 4% gain in the prior year. CEO Barbara Rentler noted: "We are very pleased with our better-than-expected sales and earnings results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year, especially given our strong multi-year comparisons and the highly competitive and promotional holiday season. Our results continued to benefit from our ability to offer customers great values on a wide assortment of gifts and fashions for the family and the home."For the year ending 3 February, 2018, the company has forecast EPS in the range of $3.02 to $3.15, up 7% to 11% from $2.83 in fiscal 2016.

Steve Madden

US footwear and accessories specialist Steve Madden said it is pleased with the momentum in its core business after delivering what it called "solid" earnings results in the fourth quarter. For the three months ended 31 December, earnings climbed 11.5% to US$28.7m from $25.7m last year. However, the company said overall sales declined "modestly" due primarily to softness in its private label footwear and cold weather accessories businesses. Sales were down 2.3% in the period to $336.4m, compared to $344.3m last year. Gross margin expanded 260 basis points to 38.7% as compared to 36.1%. CEO Edward Rosenfeld said while the company is cautious about the overall environment, it is confident it can drive top and bottom line growth in 2017 and beyond.

Target Corp

US retail group Target has booked a drop in earnings and sales in its fourth-quarter on the back on soft store traffic declines and what it calls rapidly-changing consumerbehaviour. For the three months ended 28 January, net earnings tumbled 42.7% from US$1.4bn to $817m. Sales dropped 4.3% to $20.7bn from $21.6bn, reflecting a 1.5% decline in comparable sales combined with the removal of pharmacy and clinic sales from this year's results. Digital channel sales however increased, up by 34% and contributing 1.8 percentage points to comparable sales growth. Gross margin narrowed to 26.9%, compared with 27.9% in the year ago period. The retailer said it will reveal a new financial model later today, designed to position Target for long-term, sustainable growth in "this new era in retail". 

"Our fourth quarter results reflect the impact of rapidly-changing consumer behaviour, which drove very strong digital growth but unexpected softness in our stores," said Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target.

Foot Locker

US footwear retailer Foot Locker has generated what it says is its seventh consecutive year of "meaningful" sales and profit growth as it revealed higher earnings in its fourth-quarter to US$189m from $158m a year earlier. Gross margin improved to 33.7% of sales from 33.6% a year ago, while total sales climbed 5.3% to $2.11bn. Comparable store sales increased 5%. CEO Richard Johnson, said: "Generating our seventh consecutive year of meaningful sales and profit growth is a strong testament to Foot Locker's solid position at the centre of sneaker culture. Due in part to the change in the cadence of income tax refund check distribution, we are facing a challenging retail sales environment as we enter 2017; however, we believe the strategic initiatives we have in place, coupled with our strong vendor relationships, will enable us to deliver another year of record performance."

Nordstrom

Upscale US fashion retailer Nordstrom has booked fourth-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations, reflecting what it calls "continuous improvements" to its operating model. For the period ended 28 January, net earnings were up 11.7% to US$201m, from $180m in the year ago period. Net sales were also up, rising 2.4% to $4.2bn compared to $4.1bn last year, while comparable sales slipped by 0.9%. Gross margin, meanwhile, improved 112 basis points, reflecting strong inventory execution in addition to reduced competitive markdowns. For the full year, the company reached record sales of $14.5bn, up from $14.1bn last year.

Carter's

Carter's has had what it says was a "strong finish to another record year" as it revealed higher sales and earnings in its fourth-quarter. Net income was up 20% to US$87.1m, while operating margin improved 150 basis points to 14.9%. Net sales, meanwhile, grew 7.8% to reach $67.7m, thanks to revenue growth in nearly every business segment. CEO Michael Casey, said: "Our focus on providing the best value and experience in young children's apparel, extending the reach of our brands, and improving profitability enabled us to achieve our 28th consecutive year of sales growth, improve our profit margins, and increase the return of capital to shareholders. We are forecasting good growth in sales and earnings in 2017."

Kohl's

Department store retailer Kohl's has posted what it says are "weak" sales results for the fourth quarter, driven by declines in brick and mortar traffic. For the three months ended 28 January, net sales dropped 2.8% to US$6.21bn from $6.39bn in the year-ago period. Net profit was also down, falling 15% to $252m, compared to $296 last year. Gross margin was flat at 33.4%. CEO Kevin Mansell, said: "Sales results were weak for the quarter in total, driven by declines in brick and mortar traffic, and offset somewhat by strength in online demand. We saw improvement in merchandise margin, and our team continued to manage inventory and expenses extremely well. In 2017, we will accelerate our focus on becoming the destination for active and wellness with the launch of Under Armour in early March. We will also extend our efforts on improving our speed to market across all of our proprietary brands into all apparel areas and home."

L Brands

L Brands booked a mixed fourth-quarter as sales climbed but earnings fell, albeit only slightly. For the three months ended 28 January, the owner of Victoria's Secret said net income fell 0.7% to US$631.7m from $636.0m a year ago. Meanwhile, the company reported net sales of $4.5bn, an increase of 2% compared to sales of $4.4bn for the year ago period. Comparable sales were flat for the period. L Brands noted the exit of the swim and apparel categories had a negative impact of 2 percentage points and 4 percentage points to total company and Victoria's Secret comparable sales, respectively. Looking ahead, the company said it expects first-quarter earnings per share to be $0.20 to $0.25, and $3.05 to $3.35 for 2017 full-year earnings.

Iconix Brand Group

Brand management company Iconix Brand Group booked a loss of approximately US$297.5m in its fourth-quarter, compared to a loss of around $263.0m a year earlier. Licensing sales fell 8% to $87.1m Revenue in the prior year's fourth quarter included approximately $1.3m of licensing revenue from the Badgley Mischka brand, Iconix said, for which there was no comparable revenue this year, due to its sale in the first quarter. The company also made an operating loss of around $385.8m, as compared to a loss of $398.2m in the year ago period. CEO John Haugh said: "2016 was a year of transition for Iconix. Our operating performance was in-line with our guidance. I believe the changes we have made over the past year provide a strong foundation to drive long term growth and shareholder value." 

Chico's FAS

Chico's says it is "extremely pleased" with its fourth-quarter results as it moved to a profit thanks to gross margin expansion and execution of its strategic initiatives. Earnings amounted to US$13.5m from a loss of $21.1m a year earlier, while gross margin expanded to 35.5% from 34.4%. Sales, meanwhile, dropped 4.9% to $600.8m as a result of the sale of the firm's Boston Proper direct-to-consumer business last year. Excluding this, sales dropped 2.3%, primarily reflecting a decline in comparable sales of 2.5%, comprised of reduced transaction count and an increase in average dollar sale.

TJX Companies

TJX Companies revealed an "above-plan" fourth-quarter, booking increases in both sales and earnings. For the 13 weeks ended 28 January, net income grew1.7% to US$678m from $666m in the year ago period. Gross profit margin was down 0.4 percentage points to 28.3%, versus the prior year. Net sales were up 6% to $9.5bn, compared to $9bn last year, while consolidated comparable store sales increased 3%.

CEO and president Ernie Herrman said: "The year 2016 was another terrific year for TJX on top of many great years. We were proud to mark our 40-year milestone as a company and surpass $33bn in sales."

Wolverine Worldwide

US clothing and footwear business Wolverine Worldwide has reported a net loss of $2.4m in the fourth quarter, compared to earnings of $11.9m last year. For the period ended 31 December, the company booked a drop in sales, with reported revenue falling 2.9% to US$729.6m compared to the year ago period. Reported gross margin widened slightly to 36.6% from 36.2% in the prior year, and 37.7% on a constant currency basis, an increase of 110 basis points versus the prior year. Reported diluted earnings per share were $0.89, compared to $1.20 in year ago period.

CEO Blake Krueger said the company is "well positioned going into 2017 to deliver stronger earnings and perform in what we believe will be a consumer and retail environment that we refer to internally as the 'new normal.'" 

Dillard's

Dillards has booked a drop in earnings and sales in its fourth-quarter on the back on mall traffic declines from continued retail industry challenges. "In response, we are ramping up our efforts to bring more distinctive brand and service experiences to Dillard's, both in-store and online," said CEO William Dillard. Earnings fell to US$56.9m from $84m a year earlier, while gross margin from retail operations narrowed 73 basis points. Net sales dropped to $1.94bn from $2.07bn last year.

Macy's

Department store retailer Macy's saw both earnings and sales fall in its fourth-quarter, and said it expects total sales to be down between 3.2%-4.3% in fiscal 2017, reflecting the 66 stores closed in 2016. Net income fell 12.7% to US$475m from $544m in the year ago period. Gross margin widened slightly to 38.8% from 37.4%, while net sales totalled $8.5bn, a drop of 4.5% on last year. Comparable sales on an owned plus licensed basis were down 2.1% in the quarter.

Macy's also revealed its previously announced CEO transition will take place on 23 March. Jeff Gennette, currently president of Macy's, will assume the CEO role and Terry Lundgren will continue as executive chairman of the company.

Walmart

US retail giant Walmart has booked a drop in fourth-quarter earnings, weighed down by a drop in sales in its international division and heavy investment in its both its store and e-commerce operations. Net profit fell 17.9% to US$3.76bn, while total sales edged up 1% to $130.9bn. Comparable sales were up for the tenth consecutive quarter, at 1.8%. Wal-Mart's online sales also accelerated, boosted by its acquisition of Jet.com, with US digital sales jumping 29%. Domestic sales were up 2.8% to $83.7bn, while international sales fell 5.1% to $31bn. Sam's Club sales were up 3% to $14.98bn.

"We're moving with speed to become more of a digital enterprise and better serve customers," says CEO Doug McMillon. "We had a very solid fourth-quarter. Our international business is consistently delivering solid sales growth in constant currency, and Sam's Club posted its best comp sales growth of the year."

VF Corporation

US apparel giant VF Corporation revealed a fall in both sales and earnings for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2016. Net income fell 15% to US$264.3m in the three months to December, from $312.2m the year before. As a result of the sale of its Contemporary Brands businesses, VF's net loss from discontinued operations was $98m in 2016, which also includes the operating results of the businesses, net of tax. Gross margin improved 90 basis points to a record 49.1% on a reported basis, while total revenues were relatively flat at $3.32bn from $3.33bn. Brand revenue at Vans was up 14% and by 4% at Timberland, but fell 8% at The North Face. For fiscal 2017, VF Corp is forecasting revenue to increase at a low single-digit percentage rate.

Kate Spade & Co

Kate Spade says it is exploring and evaluating "strategic alternatives to further enhance shareholder value" as it revealed higher fourth-quarter earnings and sales. Net earnings reached US$87m in the three months to the end of December from $62m a year earlier. Gross margin, however, narrowed to 59.2% from 60.2%, while net sales were up 9.8% to $471m. Direct-to-consumer comparable sales growth reached 9.3%. For the full year, earnings jumped to $153.6m from $17.1m, while net sales climbed 11.2% to $1.38bn.

Rocky Brands

Rocky Brands has moved to a loss in both its fourth-quarter and full-year, after incurring non-cash impairment charges. Despite this, CEO Mike Brooks said he is "confident" the changes to the company's operating strategies and leadership team has made it a stronger organisation that will return greater value to its shareholders over the long-term.

For the three months ended 31 December, Rocky Brands reported a net loss of US$0.6m from earnings of $1.4m in the year ago period. Excluding charges, the company recorded earnings of $1.3m. Sales, meanwhile, increased 2.6% to $67m. Wholesale sales declined 8.9% to $42.4m, while retail sales edged up to $13.7m from $13.5m. Gross margin dropped 140 basis points to 32.5%. For the full year, net losses amounted to $2.1m from earnings of $6.6m in 2015. Excluding charges, the company made earnings of $0.6m. Sales decreased 3.4% to $260.3m.

Levi Strauss & Co

Jeans giant Levi Strauss & Co saw net sales increase slightly in the fourth quarter, up 1% to US$1.29bn from $1.28bn in the year-ago period. In the three months ended 27 November, net income slipped to $96m, down 5% from $101m last year. The decline reflected investments associated with the expansion of company-operated stores network and e-commerce, the San Francisco-based company said. Gross margin narrowed to 50.7% from 51.2%. In Europe, net revenues were up 13%, while in both the Americas and Asia net revenues declined 1%.

"We are pleased to report our fourth consecutive year of profitable constant currency revenue growth behind the strength of the Levi's brand and our global direct-to-consumer business," said Chip Bergh, president CEO. "Looking ahead, although it remains a very challenging environment, given our diversified portfolio we remain optimistic about our long term prospects for growth."

Columbia Sportswear

Columbia Sportswear has revealed record four-quarter net sales of US$717.4m, a 3% increase compared with net sales of $699.4m last year. Net income also reached record levels, up 34% to $84.7m from $63.4m in the year ago period. For the full year, Columbia also booked record sales and earnings, with net sales up 2% to $2.38bn and net income reaching $191.9m, a 10% increase on fiscal 2015. For the year ahead, the company expects net sales growth of around 4%, and net income of between $192m and $200m.

CEO Tim Boyle said: "We are very proud of our fourth quarter and full year 2016 performance against a challenging backdrop in many of our largest markets. Record net sales, record gross margins, record operating income, expanded operating margin, and record net income reflect our powerful brand portfolio, robust operational platforms and disciplined prioritisation of investments."

Skechers 

Despite achieving new fourth-quarter and full-year net sales records, footwear maker Skechers saw earnings slip by more than three quarters in the three months ended 31 December. Sales in the quarter were up 5.8% to US$764.3m on last year, but the company reported an earnings decline of 77.4% to $6.7m. For the full year, net sales increased 13.2% to $3.56bn on last year, while earnings reached $243.5m, compared to $231.9m at the end of 2015. For the first quarter of 2017, the company expects net sales in the range of $1.05bn to $1.08bn.

Urban Outfitters

Teen retailer Urban Outfitters has delivered "record" fourth-quarter sales, growing 2% to US$1.03bn. However total comparable sales were flat, but were up 2% at the Urban Outfitters brand and 1.2% at Free People. Comparable sales decreased 2.9% at the Anthropologie Group. The company said comparable sales were driven by strong, double-digit growth in the direct-to-consumer channel, but were offset by lower retail store comparable net sales. Net income meanwhile, slipped 12.2% to $64m from $72.9m in the year-ago period.

For the full year, total company net sales increased to $3.5bn or 3% over the prior year. Comparable sales increased 1%. Net income fell 2.9% to $218m, versus $224.5bn last year.