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Profits for Cache Surge In 4th Quarter and Year

NEW YORK — While some bigger specialty stores struggle around them, Cache, a chain of 234 women’s apparel stores, reported profits for the fourth quarter and full year soared mightily.<br><br>For the three months ended Dec. 28, the...

NEW YORK — While some bigger specialty stores struggle around them, Cache, a chain of 234 women’s apparel stores, reported profits for the fourth quarter and full year soared mightily.

For the three months ended Dec. 28, the retailer, based here, reported net income rallied 62.2 percent to $4 million, or 42 cents a diluted share, compared with year-ago quarterly earnings of $2.5 million, or 27 cents. Sales were $58.5 million, a 12 percent increase over sales of $52.2 million, while comparable-store sales grew 8 percent.

Since 2001, Cache has fine-tuned its merchandise mix, presenting a narrower presentation focused on contemporary and dressy casual styles, cocktail dresses and day-into-evening looks. In addition, Cache has pushed hard in its marketing efforts to keep its customers apprised of new arrivals and sales.

“We have been able to execute in a positive manner and continue to build market share in this environment,” Thomas Reinckens, president and chief operating officer, said. “Customers continue to like our assortment.”

While company executives are satisfied with today’s results, they say they are mindful of tomorrow, given the world’s uncertainties, as well as sluggish mall traffic.

To drive customers to the stores, Reinckens said the company has significantly increased its marketing activities, including advertising in fashion magazines as well as through its direct-marketing program.

With spring and summer ahead and a large special-occasion business, the mall-based retailer is now heading into its busiest time. Along with its spring separates such as cropped pants and novelty capris, Cache is hoping its successful dress business will continue to attract the mother of the bride as well as the prom queen.

For 2002, Cache earnings surged 171.1 percent to $8.9 million, or 93 cents, when compared with 2001 profits of $3.3 million, or 36 cents. Sales climbed 10.9 percent to $199.4 million from year-ago sales of $179.9 million and 7 percent on a comp basis.

“We are keeping ahead with what we are offering our customer and our marketing efforts,” Reinckens said. “Everything seems to be working.”

There was no contrary indication in Cache’s comp results for January, when same-store sales grew 5 percent on top of an 11 percent increase in December and a 10 percent spike in January of last year.