NEW YORK — The Elder-Beerman Stores Corp.’s fourth-quarter profits withered under the dual pressures of soft sales and higher expenses.

For the three months ended Feb. 1, the Dayton, Ohio-based operator of 68 department stores in eight states said net income declined 14.5 percent to $8.3 million, or 72 cents a diluted share, versus prior-year earnings of $9.7 million, or 84 cents. The most recent results included a pre-tax charge of $3.6 million from losses incurred from the termination of a company-defined benefits program.

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