Shares of discount menswear retailer S&K Famous Brands (NASDAQ:SKFB) fell in Tuesday trading following the release of financial results that, while disappointing strictly on the basis of fiscal Q4 (ended Jan. 31), nevertheless represented an improvement over the full fiscal year when compared with year-ago numbers.

Richmond, Va.-based S&K, which can count such companies as Burlington Coat Factory (NYSE:BCF) and Men's Wearhouse (NYSE:MW) among its contemporaries, said full-year net income rose from $2.7 million to $2.8 million as revenues improved 4.6% to $176.2 million. Same-store sales increased 3.7% during the year, while the store count closed up three at 239. But a disappointing Q4, in which comps ticked slightly downward and November sales suffered and a cut-price strategy hurt gross margins, held back the company's performance.

Still, S&K has to be glad it was able to get net income growing again, even if only slightly. A glance at the company's latest 10-K, filed at the end of fiscal 2003, illustrates the point: Net income has steadily fallen since fiscal 1999, while revenue has shown little correlation with store count. Gross profits and SG&A expenses, meanwhile, have fluctuated over that period.

In the end, 2003 represented an improvement over 2002 in most income statement departments. And over on the balance sheet, long-term debt is less than half what it was a year ago. Looking to more recent periods, S&K turned in impressive same-store sales growth of nearly 20% for February.

But all that is perhaps moot for S&K investors, who know their company historically relies on the fourth quarter to deliver the bulk of its profits and cash flow. News of markdowns and negative same-store sales this time around -- Men's Wearhouse reported similar problems this holiday season -- may leave a sour taste for months to come.

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Motley Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own any of the companies in this story.