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DEB SHOPS BEATS STREET WITH 4TH-QUARTER GAINS

NEW YORK — Deb Shops Inc. ably weathered a tempestuous year for retailers with nearly an increase in fourth-quarter income that just missed the double-digit mark.
Net income moved up 9.4 percent to $15.1 million, or $1.11 cents a diluted share, compared with $13.8 million, or $1.02, in the year-ago period.
Quarterly earnings beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations of $1.05 by 6 cents.
For the three months ended Jan. 31, sales rose 1.9 percent to $84.6 million from $83 million last year.
“We are pleased that our results have again exceeded analysts’ expectations and our internal estimates,” said chief executive officer Marvin Rounick in a statement. “In our view, Deb Shops’ operating results illustrate management’s understanding of the marketplace, our inventory controls, and quite simply, the ability to get the right merchandise to our consumers at the right price.”
Overall, in fiscal 2002, the Philadelphia-based retailer reported net income slipped 5 percent to $23.6 million, or $1.73, from $24.8 million, or $1.83, in the previous year. Wall Street had forecast yearly earnings of $2.01.
Sales for the year grew 7.1 percent to $307.6 million from $287.3 million last year. Comparable-store sales were up 3.8 percent for the year.

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