Genesco Posts Improved Qtr.

Genesco Inc. reported Thursday slight increases in both fourth-quarter sales and earnings.

The Nashville, Tenn.-based firm earned $25.9 million, or $1.08 a diluted share, compared with a profit of $23.2 million, or $1.05, the prior year. Adjusted for certain items, the firm said it would have earned $1.16 a share. On this basis, analysts were expecting $1.12 a share.

Net revenues rose 6 percent to $479 million from $451.7 million last year. Journeys Group sales fell slightly to $225.4 million from $229.5 million, while sales at Underground Station decreased 5 percent to $32.2 million. Johnston & Murphy Group sales rose to $47.3 million from $45.6 million. Hat World Group sales jumped to $152.4 million from $122.4 million a year ago.

“Our fourth-quarter earnings exceeded expectations, driven by strong sales at Hat World and our direct-to-consumer catalog and e-commerce businesses, combined with higher gross margins for the company and well-managed expenses across all our divisions,” Robert Dennis, president and CEO of Genesco, said Thursday in a written statement.

For the year, Genesco earned $28.8 million, or $1.30, compared with $150.8 million, or $6.49, the prior year. A year ago, Genesco’s profits were positively impacted from a settlement with Finish Line Inc., following a terminated merger of the two firms.

Annual revenues totaled $1.57 billion versus $1.55 billion last year.

The firm reiterated its prior full-year guidance for earnings per share between $2 to $2.10, with same-store sales expected to rise 2 percent to 3 percent.

“As we begin the new fiscal year, all our businesses are performing above their fourth-quarter comparable sales, with positive comparable-store sales across the board,” Dennis added.

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