NEW YORK — Profits at Urban Outfitters Inc. increased 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter and 18.5 percent in the year.
The operator of Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie earned $5.5 million, or 31 cents a share, in the quarter, up from $5.2 million, or 29 cents, a year ago.
Sales jumped 22.4 percent to $74.8 million, but same-store sales were flat.
Gross margins were depressed by increased occupancy costs and additional retail clearance markdowns, but its operating-expense rate improved due to “aggressive store cost-containment” and reduced catalog production and selling costs, the Philadelphia-based firm said.
In the year, profits advanced to $18.7 million, or $1.05, from $15.8 million, or 88 cents, a year ago. The latest year included a $4.4 million loss from its minority investment in MXG Media Inc., which operates the MXG magalog as well as the MXGonline.com and MXGtv.com Web sites, which cater to teenage girls.
Sales jumped 32.1 percent to $276.1 million, with comparable-store sales up 10 percent.
The firm said Anthropologie direct-response sales surged to $15.2 million from $5.7 million as a result of an increased catalog mailing, up to 7.4 million from 3.4 million, and greater Web-site traffic.
Last year, retail accounted for 86.4 percent of sales; direct mail, 5.5 percent, and wholesale, 8.1 percent.
It closed the year with 37 Urban Retail and 20 Anthropologie locations.

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