In the fourth quarter of 2013, net sales increased 8.7 percent to 342.9 million dollars compared to 315.5 million dollars in the same period of 2012. Retail comparable store sales decreased 6.7 percent. Gross margin declined to 37.8 percent as compared to 39.3 percent in the same period last year.
Operating income totaled 53.6 million dollars, or 15.6 percent of net sales, compared with operating income of 49.8 million dollars, or 15.8 percent of net sales, in the same period of 2012. Net income of the company based in Long Island City, New York increased 8.2 percent to 35.7 million dollars, or 0.54 dollars per diluted share, compared to 33 million dollars, or 0.49 dollars per diluted share in the prior year's fourth quarter.
According to Edward Rosenfeld, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, “We are pleased to have delivered solid sales and earnings growth in the fourth quarter despite a challenging retail environment. While our retail segment performance was below expectation, we recorded another strong quarter in our wholesale business. While we are cautious on the near term outlook for our retail segment due to continued softness in traffic and sales trends, we are confident that we can maintain solid momentum in our wholesale business, and we expect to deliver another year of strong performance in 2014.”
Net sales from the wholesale business grew 10.6 percent in the fourth quarter, with particular strength in the private label business in addition to solid gains in Steve Madden women’s and Madden Girl footwear as well as strong increases in Steve Madden handbags and Freebird by Steven footwear. Gross margin in the wholesale business was 31.8 percent compared to 32.6 percent in last year’s fourth quarter.
For fiscal year 2014, the company expects that net sales will increase 5 to 7 percent over net sales in 2013. Diluted EPS for fiscal year 2014 is expected to be in the range of 2.05 dollars – 2.15 dollars.