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A Q4 exception to the rule, Steinmart ready to grow

Not many retailers can say they were very pleased with exceptional results during a compressed holiday season and challenging fourth quarter, but Steinmart did.

Same-store sales increased 3.1% for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 1, while total sales for the 13-week period declined to $360.8 million from $368.6 million because the fourth quarter the prior year included an extra week, which added sales of $15.8 million to the prior-year period.

Same-store sales for the year increased 3.7% while total sales for the 52-week period totaled $1.26 billion compared to $1.23 billion for the 53 week prior year period.

"I am very pleased with our exceptional results this year. We improved our business in 2013 through a number of key initiatives, including enhancing our merchandise and brands, launching our online store, more effective marketing, taking our supply chain distribution centers in-house and growing our credit card program," said Steinmart CEO Jay Stein. "For 2014, we will continue to build upon these achievements, while initiating our most aggressive store opening plan in more than ten years with 16 new and relocated stores, to even better serve our customers and grow returns for our investors."

Steinmart ended last year with 264 locations, one more than the prior year, as four new store openings were offset by three closures. Four stores were relocated last year.

To fund this year’s growth, capital expenditures are expected to total approximately $38 million, including $13 million for information systems, $13 million for existing stores and $12 million for new and relocated stores, according to the company. That is roughly in line with last year’s capital expenditures of $37.5 million which was down considerably from 2012 when the company spent $45.4 million and invested in a new merchandise information system.

Fourth-quarter profits on an adjusted basis to account several non-recurring expenses and the extra week in the prior year reporting period increased to $13.1 million, or 29 cents a share, compared to $12.3 million, or 28 cents a share. Full year adjusted net income was $32.8 million or 73 cents a share, compared to $22.9 million or 52 cents a share.