OshKosh B'Gosh, Inc. reported sales and earnings for the fourth quarter and year-ended December 29, 2001. Net sales were $125.2 million for the fourth quarter versus $128.2 million, primarily driven by a 6.3% gain in comparable store sales offset by anticipated weakness at wholesale. Operating income for the period was $14.0 million compared to $15.0 million in the year-ago period. Net income for the quarter was $8.5 million, or $0.68 per diluted share, versus $8.9 million, or $0.72 per diluted share. The Company opened four new stores during the fourth quarter. For the full year ended December 29, 2001, the Company's net sales increased 2.2% to $463.1 million compared to sales of $453.1 million reported in 2000. Operating income for 2001 was $54.7 million compared to $55.7 million in 2000. Net income was $32.8 million, or $2.61 per diluted share, from $32.2 million, or $2.58 per diluted share. The Company opened six stores during 2001. Douglas W. Hyde, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer commented, "Our strong fourth quarter performance capped a solid year for the Company, despite the challenging economic climate and highly promotional retail environment. We are particularly pleased with our retail sales performance in the fourth quarter, which posted a 6.3% comparable store sales gain. This increase was driven by a combination of improved customer traffic at our outlet stores along with our superior merchandise assortment. Total fourth quarter sales at our retail stores were also positively impacted by sales volume generated from newly opened stores. As anticipated, our wholesale business was down year-over-year, but exceeded our projections. Specifically, wholesale benefited from an earlier start to the Company's shipment of spring 2002 merchandise. As a result of the strategic decision we made to bring in product earlier to better service our customers, we were prepared for this shift in shipments and had the ability to meet our customers' needs." Mr. Hyde continued, "During the fourth quarter, we shipped our first wave of merchandise to Kohl's Department Stores, which hit their selling floors in January. We look forward to the significant advertising and marketing campaign Kohl's will be launching next week to support the introduction of the OshKosh brand across its national chain." "As we enter 2002, the OshKosh brand is stronger than ever and continues to resonate well with our customers. Based on our brand strength, along with our strategic initiatives, we look forward to the new year but remain cautious in the near term, given the continued economic uncertainty. We currently anticipate net sales growing in the range of 5% to 7% for the first quarter of 2002. Specifically, our wholesale business will be favorably impacted by the addition of Kohl's and we expect moderate comparable store sales growth in our retail business. Additionally, we plan to open two new stores during the first quarter with a total of ten new outlet stores planned to open in 2002. As a result, we anticipate earnings per diluted share to be between $0.43 and $0.47, compared to earnings per share of $0.36 achieved in the year-ago period," concluded Mr. Hyde.
Statements contained herein that relate to the Company's future performance including, without limitation, statements with respect to the Company's anticipated results of operations or level of business for 2002 or any other future period, are "forward-looking statements" within the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are based on current assumptions and expectations that involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially. The Company's future results of operations and financial position can be influenced by such factors as the level of consumer spending for apparel, particularly in the children's wear segment, overall consumer acceptance of the Company's product styling, the introduction of new products or pricing changes by the Company's competitors or other competitive factors, the financial strength of the retail industry, including, but not limited to, business conditions and the general economy, natural disasters, risk of non-payment of accounts receivable, the unanticipated loss of a major customer, failure of Company suppliers to timely deliver needed raw materials, the Company's ability to correctly balance the level of its commitments with actual orders, risks associated with terrorist activities, as well as risk associated with foreign operations. In addition, the inability to ship Company products within agreed timeframes due to unanticipated manufacturing and/or distribution system delays or the failure of Company contractors to deliver products within scheduled timeframes are risk factors in ongoing business. As a part of the Company's product sourcing strategy, it routinely contracts for apparel products produced by contractors in Asia, Mexico, and Central America. If financial, political, or other related difficulties were to adversely impact the Company's contractors in these regions, it could disrupt the supply of products contracted for by the Company. The forward-looking statements included herein are only made as of the date of this press release. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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