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True Religion Net Leaps

Premium denim maker True Religion Apparel Inc. said fourth-quarter earnings more than doubled...

Premium denim maker True Religion Apparel Inc. said fourth-quarter earnings more than doubled, with strong momentum in the wholesale and retail businesses.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, earnings jumped 116.7 percent to $8.9 million, or 37 cents a diluted share, up from $4.1 million, or 18 cents, in the year-ago period. Sales soared 73.5 percent to $52.7 million from $30.4 million. Sales in the current quarter included $200,000 in licensing revenue.

The wholesale segment increased 62.4 percent to $31.8 million from $19.6 million in last year’s period, while the international wholesale business rose 21.3 percent to $9.2 million from $7.6 million. Sales for the consumer direct segment, which includes the company’s retail stores and e-commerce site, reached $11.5 million from $3.1 million.

The firm said it expects to accelerate sales growth and margin expansion as the consumer direct business becomes a more significant percentage of total sales.

For the full year, earnings grew 28 percent to $27.8 million, or $1.16 a diluted share, from $21.7 million, or 92 cents, last year. Sales for the year gained 23.3 percent to reach $173.3 million compared with $140.5 million in the year prior.

Last year was “characterized by an evolving distribution strategy, an expanded product assortment and accelerated growth,” said Jeffrey Lubell, chairman and chief executive officer.

The company delayed reporting financial data because it had to restate previously issued statements for fiscal 2005 and 2006, as well as for the quarters ended March 31, 2007, and June 30, 2007, because of accounting errors.

This story first appeared in the April 30, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.