The Buckle Inc. posted a 9.4 percent rise in fourth-quarter income Thursday, besting Wall Street’s projections.

This story first appeared in the March 15, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

For the period ended Feb. 2, the Kearney, Neb.-based retailer reported income of $61.4 million, or $1.28 a diluted share, compared with income of $56.1 million, or $1.18 a share a year earlier.

Net sales increased 7 percent for the quarter to $360.6 million from $337.1 million.

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Analysts expected earnings of $1.25 a share on sales of $356.6 million.

Quarterly comparable-store sales were flat in the fourth quarter versus last year, while online sales rose by 5.4 percent to $29.1 million.

Adrienne Tennant, an analyst at Janney Capital Market, noted, “True to their full-price strategy, we do continue to note limited promotions at [Buckle] even in the highly promotional environment. However, should comps potentially come under pressure, the company may find it difficult to sustain peak margins.”

For the fiscal year, Buckle’s income grew 8.5 percent to $164.3 million, or $3.44 a share, up from $151.5 million, or $3.20 a share in 2011. Net sales rose 5.7 percent to $1.12 billion from $1.06 billion.

Shares of Buckle rose 3.1 percent to $48.74 Thursday.

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