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Polo Ralph Lauren Profit Up 17% On Higher Wholesale Sales

Apparel and home furnishings maker Polo Ralph Lauren said Wednesday its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings rose 17 percent, helped by higher wholesale sales.

Profit for the quarter ended March 31 totaled $73.2 million, or 68 cents per share, up from $62.5 million, or 58 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $1.03 billion from $971.6 million last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected a profit of 62 cents on revenue of $1.03 billion.

Quarterly revenue was helped by a 10 percent increase in wholesale sales, driven by increased sales in Europe and domestic gains in childrenswear, menswear and Lauren. Retail sales grew 3 percent, partially offset by an 11 percent decline in licensing revenue due to the loss of royalties from Polo Jeans, which the company now owns, and a transition to a new eyewear licensee during the quarter.

For the year, net income rose 30 percent to $400.9 million, or $3.73 per share, from $308 million, or $2.87 per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 15 percent to $4.3 billion from $3.75 billion last year.

The company had said it expected yearly profit between $3.60 and $3.65 per share, with sales growth in the mid-teen percentages.