Destination Maternity 4Q profit nearly doubles

Destination Maternity 4th-qtr. profit nearly doubles, beats Wall Street's expectations

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Destination Maternity's fiscal fourth-quarter net income nearly doubled as fall merchandise drew shoppers and the maternity clothing chain controlled its costs.

Earnings from the July-September quarter and the company's profit forecast for its current fiscal year, which ends in September 2013, topped Wall Street's view.

Destination Maternity reported Thursday that it earned $5.2 million, or 39 cents per share, for the period ended Sept. 30. That's up from $2.7 million, or 20 cents per share, a year ago.

Stripping out one-time items, such as the cost of paying employees stock options, the company sayd it earned 42 cents per share. Analysts predicted 28 cents per share, according to a FactSet survey.

Revenue edged down 1 percent to $128.5 million from $129.4 million as the retailer closed more of its weaker stores. Wall Street forecast $128.6 million.

Revenue at stores open at least a year and from the company's website climbed 2.7 percent. This figure is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

General expenses fell 2 percent to $62.7 million, while the cost of selling merchandise dropped 6 percent to $56.9 million.

For the year, Destination Maternity Corp. earned $19.4 million, or $1.46 per share. In the previous year the company earned $23 million, or $1.75 per share. Revenue fell 1 percent to $541.5 million from $545.4 million. Revenue at stores open at least a year slipped 0.3 percent.

Going forward, the Philadelphia company anticipates fiscal 2013 earnings growing to $1.56 to $1.74 per share, but expects revenue to keep dropping, to $536 million to $549 million. Revenue at stores open at least a year is forecast to rise 1 percent to 3.5 percent.

Analysts expect earnings of $1.52 per share on revenue of $547.1 million.

For the current quarter, Destination Maternity expects earnings of 25 cents to 32 cents per share on revenue of $132.5 million to $136.5 million.

Wall Street anticipates earnings of 21 cents per share on revenue of $137.7 million.

Destination Maternity runs 625 stores, mostly under the Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod, and Destination Maternity names. It also leases more than 1,380 sites in department stores such as Sears and Macy's.

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