Thursday Afternoon Earnings Roundup

Columbus, Ohio, Limited Brands recorded preliminary net income of $415.8 million in the fourth quarter, up 7.3% from the year-ago period. Sales grew 3% to $3.33 billion on a 2% comps gain. For the year, Limited’s preliminary net income is $738.7 million, 3% higher than its net income from the previous year. Sales were up 5% to $9.41 billion on a same-store sales improvement of 5%.

In other earnings news:

• Staples Inc. reported a 19% gain in net income to $251 million in the fourth quarter, supported by a 13% sales improvement to $4.1 billion and North American comps growth of 4%. For the full year, Staples posted net income of $708 million, up 28% from 2003. The retailer’s sales rose 11% to $14.4 billion for the year on same-store sales growth of 4%.

• TJX Cos. said its income declined in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 29 to $176.9 million, down 25.9% from $238.7 million in the same quarter last year. Comp-store sales in the quarter increased 4% as total sales increased 5%. For the full year, the company earned $664.1 million, up slightly from $658.4 million in the prior year. Comp-store sales for the full year increased 5%.

• Trans World Entertainment Corp. reported net income of $34.7 million in its recently completed fourth quarter, roughly unchanged from the $34.8 million it recorded before extraordinary gains. Total sales decreased 5% to $513.5 million, due in part to the company operating 85 fewer stores in the fourth quarter of 2004 vs. the previous year. Same-store sales increased 1% in the quarter. For the year, Trans World’s net income was 81% higher at $41.8 million, partly due to an income-tax benefit of $10.5 million. Sales grew 3% to $1.37 billion for the year, aided by a 1% improvement in same-store sales.

• O’Reilly Automotive Inc. recorded fourth-quarter net income of $28.5 million, up 19.2% from the year-ago period. Sales rose 16.5% to $427.6 million, and same-store sales increased by 8.5%. For the fiscal year, O’Reilly’s net income rose 24.1% to $124.2 million, supported by a 13.9% sales gain to $1.72 billion and a comps improvement of 6.8%.

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