Iconix Qtr., Year Pop

Iconix Brand Group Inc. said Tuesday that fourth-quarter earnings jumped 36 percent thanks to an uptick in revenues driven largely by an expanding direct-to-retail program.

The firm earned $20.8 million, or 27 cents a diluted share, up from $15.3 million, or 25 cents, a year ago. Total revenues rose to $65.8 million from $54.3 million last year.

Excluding non-cash interest related to the company’s convertible debt, earnings would have been 30 cents, the company said, compared with 28 cents previously.

Analysts had expected a profit of 30 cents on revenues of $64.3 million.

“Our ability to drive organic growth through the expansion of our direct to retail programs in one of the most challenging retail environments in history demonstrates the strength of our business model,” said Neil Cole, chairman and CEO of Iconix, in a written statement. “In 2009, we successfully launched five new direct-to-retail partnerships in the U.S., renewed four direct-to-retail contracts, formed our third international joint venture for Europe and acquired stakes in Ecko and Ed Hardy, two of the leading brands in today’s youth market.”

Iconix reaffirmed its prior full year 2010 revenue guidance for $260 million to $270 million and earnings per share of $1.13 to $1.18.

For the full year, Iconix earned $75.7 million, or $1.10, compared with $62.9 million, or $1.03, a year ago. Revenues totaled $232.1 million, versus $216.8 million the prior year.

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