Saks’ Sales Rise

Saks Inc., boosted by improved sales and traffic and renewed consumer interest in luxury items, rode into the black for the fourth quarter and year ended Jan. 29.

The company reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $25 million, or 14 cents a share, compared to a loss of $4.6 million, or 3 cents, in the year ago period.

For the year, Saks posted net earnings of $47.8 million, or 30 cents, compared to a loss of $57.9 million, or 40 cents, in the year before.

Sales in the fourth quarter rose 8.4 percent on a comparable-store basis to $866.3 million, from $811.3 million in the year-ago quarter. For the year, sales rose 6.4 percent on a comparable-store basis to $2.79 billion from $2.63 billion in the year-ago period.

“I am very pleased with our fourth quarter and full year operating performance,” said Stephen I. Sadove, Saks chairman and chief executive officer. “The meaningful year-over-year improvement resulted from comparable store sales increases and gross margin rate expansion. Our team executed very well during the year as we strategically moved from defense to offense.”

“We achieved comparable store sales increases in each month of 2010, with our strongest performance in the fourth quarter,” Sadove commented.

In the Saks Fifth Avenue stores, women’s and men’s apparel, handbags and shoes were strong. For the quarter, the sales increase in the New York City flagship was modestly below the company’s aggregate comparable store sales performance, Saks said.

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