Net earnings suffered a sharp 25% decline in the fourth quarter at Guess? (NYSE: GES ) , the clothing retailer reported, as European economic pressures and lower North America store traffic, coupled with a greater promotional environment, impacted consumer confidence.
Revenues in Asia rose 14%, and 3% in Europe in constant currency, while North American sales rose 2%, even as retail same-store sales declined 6.3%. Comps are a key retail metric because it eliminates the effects of expansion by only measuring organic growth.
Total net fourth-quarter revenues increased 5.1%, to $815 million, from $775.8 million in the year-ago quarter, which, in constant dollars, amounted to a 4.2% increase. The fourth quarter of 2013 also benefited from an extra selling week.
CEO Paul Marciano said that, despite a difficult retail environment, Guess? was still able to come in at the high end of its expectations, but he noted that the retailer believes, "The challenging macroeconomic environment will continue" through the current fiscal year.
Guess? also said its board approved a quarterly cash dividend of $0.20 per share, payable on Apr. 19 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Apr. 3.
Guess? operates 512 retail stores in the United States and Canada, and 320 retail stores in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.