By  on March 5, 2008

Maidenform Brands Inc. said Tuesday said that fourth-quarter income almost doubled from a year ago, powered by rising sales from key products.

For the quarter ended Dec. 29, income jumped 97.1 percent to $6.4 million, or 27 cents a diluted share, from $3.2 million, or 13 cents, in the same year-ago quarter. Sales rose 11.5 percent to $95.8 million from $85 million.

Wholesale sales at department and national chain stores rose 11 percent to $50.6 million from $45.6 million. Growth was driven primarily by the introduction of The Sleek Bra and continued expansion of The Smooth Bra franchise. There also were solid performances by the full-figure Lilyette brand and Maidenform's new shapewear brand, Control It.

At the mass merchant level, sales rose 32.5 percent to $21.6 million from $16.3 million. On the retail front, same-store sales at Maidenform's outlet stores increased 0.5 percent. Internet sales gained 12.5 percent to $900,000 in the quarter. The company operated 78 retail outlet stores as of the end of the fourth quarter.

For the year, income was up 23.2 percent to $34.2 million, or $1.43 a diluted share, from $27.8 million, or $1.15, last year. Sales rose 1.3 percent to $422.2 million from $416.8 million.

"As we enter 2008, we remain cautious about the retail climate, but our team continues to focus on driving Maidenform to new levels of success through expanding product categories with existing customers, developing new customers globally and prudently managing expenses while effectively building our foundation for future growth," said Thomas J. Ward, chief executive officer.

For full-year 2008, the company is expecting an EPS gain of 10 to 15 percent, and a sales increase of 4 to 7 percent.

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