Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK — Carson Pirie Scott said double-digit sales gains in special sizes, misses suits, casual sportswear and activewear sparked a 47 percent increase in fourth-quarter earnings. Women’s apparel overall rose 7 to 8 percent in the quarter, outperforming the store, said Edward Carroll, executive vice president.
Net income for the quarter ended Jan. 28, which was also boosted by an $11 million nonrecurring credit, totaled $39.9 million or $1.97 per share, versus $27.2 million or $1.34.
Net income in the quarter climbed 11 percent to $1.49 per share, after eliminating the effects of the credit — resulting from settling bankruptcy claims — and of $1.3 million in extraordinary costs from closing eight Minnesota stores that were sold to Dayton Hudson.
Sales in the quarter gained 1.3 percent to $392.9 million from $387.7 million. Comparable-store sales climbed 5 percent.
The company said in February, spring merchandise in suits, special sizes and casual and better sportswear, particularly Liz Claiborne, was strong.
For the year, Carson’s earnings surged 50.6 percent to $50.3 million or $2.48 per share, against $33.4 million, or $1.65. The year-ago figures were adjusted to reflect Carson’s exit from Chapter 11 in October 1993.
Also lifting year-end income were cost controls that cut selling, general and administrative costs to 27.9 percent of sales from 28.6 percent.
Sales for the year grew 1.2 percent to $1.2 billion from $1.1 billion. Women’s apparel sales were up 6 to 7 percent for the year, Carroll said.
Dayton’s has completed the purchase of Carson’s eight Twin Cities stores. Seven of the stores are slated to be converted into Mervyn’s. The eighth store will be converted to a Dayton’s.