J.Crew Swings to Profit, Outstrips Estimates

Men's and women's clothing retailer J. Crew Groupon Tuesday reported a profit in the fourth quarter compared with a loss a year ago, as sales rose.

On an adjusted basis, J. Crew said it earned $20.5 million, or 33 cents a share for the quarter.

Analysts, on average, were expecting the New York-based company to earn 28 cents a share for the quarter, according Thomson Financial.

The retailer and catalog company reported net income in the fourth quarter was $44 million, or 71 cents a share, compared with a loss of $9.2 million, or 37 cents a share, a year earlier, before the company went public.

J. Crew said revenue for the three-month period ended Feb. 3 rose 27% to $366.7 million while comparable-store sales rose 7%.

J. Crew, which began in 1983 as a mail-order business, also said its gross margin rose to 40.8% of revenue from 36.9% a year ago.

The company said its long-term financial targets include comparable store sales growth in the mid-single digit range, and diluted earnings per share growth in excess of 20%.

The company also said it is targeting high single-digit direct sales growth and net square footage expansion in the 7% to 9% range.