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VF Grows Profits 18.6% in Fourth Quarter

Bolstered by strength in its core businesses, VF Corp. posted double-digit profits for both the fourth-quarter and year-end periods.

NEW YORK — Bolstered by strength in its core businesses, VF Corp. posted double-digit profit gains during the fourth-quarter and year-end periods.

The branded apparel suppliers said Tuesday that net income for the three months ended Jan. 1 rose 18.6 percent to $125.3 million, or $1.10 a diluted share, from $105.6 million, or 96 cents, in the same year-ago quarter, while sales climbed 12.4 percent to $1.56 billion from $1.39 billion.

“This was a banner year for VF, capped by another great quarter. We’re delighted that we achieved growth across all businesses — jeanswear, outdoor, intimates, imagewear and sportswear — in the quarter. We’re benefiting from a powerful combination of very strong category-driven businesses that are highly profitable and generate healthy cash flow, plus the addition of new lifestyle brands with great growth potential,” said Mackey J. McDonald, chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.

The company said jeanswear sales — including the Lee, Wrangler, Rider and Rustler brands — were up 3 percent in the quarter to $669 million from $648 million.

The outdoor businesses division posted an 87 percent jump in sales to $276 million from $148 million. Outdoor businesses include brands such as The North Face, Vans, JanSport, Eastpak and Kipling. The intimate apparel business grew sales by 4 percent to $185 million from $178 million.

While the private brands in intimates enjoyed double-digit sales growth, the mass channel experienced healthy sales results due to new product successes across the Vassarette, Bestform and Curvation brands. Sales in sportswear — reflecting the Nautica, Earl Jean and John Varvatos brands — rose 2 percent in the quarter to $180 million from $177 million.

The company, which has a long-term annual sales growth target of 8 percent, is planning a target range of between 6 and 8 percent for 2005.

For the year, net income rose 19.3 percent to $474.7 million, or $4.21 a diluted share, from $397.9 million, or $3.61, last year on sales that climbed 16.3 percent to $6.05 billion from $5.21 billion.