NEW YORK – Specialty retailer Urban Outfitters Inc. posted in-line fourth-quarter earnings Thursday in what the company called its “finest” year.

But management hinted at challenges the company is facing in the new fiscal year. “We remain cautious about our overall business until we navigate through the seismic shift in women’s fashion that occurred late last year and customer feedback becomes more consistent,” Richard A. Hayne, chairman and president of Urban Outfitters, said in a written statement. “Thus far during the [first] quarter, sales in comparable stores are running below our plan and the previous year, while the direct and wholesale businesses are running nicely ahead.”

In the three months ended Jan. 31, the company earned $35.6 million, or 21 cents a diluted share, up from $27.1 million, or 16 cents, last year. Analysts had also been expecting 21 cents in the most recent quarter. Net sales were $318.6 million, versus $251.6 million last year. Same-store sales rose 8 percent in aggregate for the company’s three brands.

“The final three months of the fiscal year continued our string of record-breaking quarters and capped-off what was easily our finest year to date,” Hayne said. The company posted annual profits of $130.8 million, or 77 cents, which compared with $90.5 million, or 54 cents, last year. Sales were $1.1 billion, up from $827.8 million last year.

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