Shares of Movado Group Inc. Thursday spiked 12.6 percent, to $16.85, after the company reported better-than-expected improvement in fourth-quarter operations and provided guidance for 2012 well in excess of analysts’ expectations.


For the three months ended Jan. 31, the watch marketer’s net loss widened to $31.3 million, or $1.26 a diluted share, from a loss of $23.6 million, or 96 cents a diluted share, a year ago. Stripping out special items, including charges associated with inventory connected with discontinued gold watches, income from continuing operations came to 5 cents a diluted share, 4 cents better than analysts’ consensus estimates.


Sales jumped 23.1 percent to $101 million from $82.1 million. On average, analysts expected sales of $95 million.


For the year, the loss narrowed to $44.9 million, or $1.81, from $54.6 million, or $2.23, in 2009. Sales rose 9.3 percent to $382.2 million from $349.7 million.


“Growth in our Movado brand was fueled by the very successful introduction of the Movado Bold collection, strong product innovation and a reenergized marketing program,” said Efraim Grinberg, chairman and chief executive officer.


Rick Cote, president and chief operating officer, told Wall Street analysts on a conference call, “From a global economic perspective, the watch category has benefited from an improved economy, stock market valuation and consumer confidence. We continue to believe that the U.S. and European economies will show moderate growth moving forward, with consumers remaining cautious in their spending and the potential risk of price inflation.”


Movado said it expects net income in the range of $15 million to $16.5 million, or 60 cents to 65 cents a diluted share, for fiscal year 2012. Initial analysts’ estimates were for EPS of 36 cents.


In addition to adding two new directors — Maurice Reznik, ceo of Maidenform Brands Inc., and Alex Grinberg, senior vice president, consumer and customer centric initiatives for Movado — the company reinstated its payment of dividends beginning with a payment of 3 cents a share on April 29 to shareholders of record as of April 18. It also amended its bank agreement with Bank of America and Bank Leumi USA to reflect more favorable current market rate conditions and modify certain covenants related to the payment of dividends.

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