By and and  on March 9, 2011

Inter Parfums Inc. increased its fourth-quarter profits and gross margin despite a slight dip in sales for the period.During the three months ended Dec. 31, net income attributable to the company rose 14.5 percent to $6.2 million, or 20 cents a diluted share, 1 cent better than analysts, on average, had expected. In the year-ago period, net income was $5.5 million, or 18 cents.Sales backtracked 0.4 percent to $112.4 million from $112.9 million in the 2009 period as gross margin rose to 59 percent of sales from 56.1 percent a year ago.In addition to the European launches of the Montblanc and Boucheron scents, which are expected to expand the firm’s prestige business, Jean Madar, chairman and chief executive officer, told analysts during a conference call Wednesday that entries by Gap and Banana Republic have met with success.He also mentioned that Nine West scents are to begin rolling out next month followed by fashion designer Betsey Johnson’s scents next year. The firm’s much-hyped Burberry color cosmetics collection could reach roughly 50 more points of sale this year, he told analysts.Launches in 2012 will include a new Burberry fragrance family and Paul Smith fragrances for men and women.For the full year, net income grew 18.9 percent to $26.6 million, or 87 cents a diluted share, from $22.4 million, or 74 cents, in 2009. Revenues expanded 12.4 percent to $460.4 million from $409.5 million.Russell Greenberg, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the firm is “on track” to achieve its previously issued guidance for the year of net income of about 98 cents a diluted share on sales of about $525 million.The firm increased its quarterly dividend to 8 cents a share, payable April 15 to shareholders of record March 31, from its previous mark of 6.5 cents.Meanwhile, Inter Parfums Inc.’s Parisian subsidiary, Inter Parfums SA, posted 2010 net profits of 26.8 million euros, or $35.6 million, up 18.6 percent from its 2009 profits. Operating profit increased 25.2 percent to 42.2 million euros, or $56 million. As reported, Inter Parfums SA reported sales last year rose 17.9 percent to 305.7 million euros, or $405.9 million. At constant exchange, sales grew 18.3 percent.Dollar figures are converted from euros at average exchange rates for the 12-month period.The company reiterated its 2011 guidance regarding sales of approximately 350 million euros, or $486.4 million at current exchange.

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