Additionally, in the quarter, we maintained an exceptionally strong balance sheet with our cash balance growing $188 million over last year. We initiated our first-ever dividend, and we announced a 12-month share repurchase program. The 6.1% increase in sales for the fourth quarter was driven by the growth of our store network by 0.1% increase in consolidated same-store sales, on top of a 9.3% increase in the fourth quarter of last year.
Same-store sales in the fourth quarter 2011 for Dick's Sporting Goods were down 2.5%. Golf Galaxy same-store sales were up 9%. And e-commerce sales were up 52%. The 2.5% same-store sales decline at Dick's was primarily driven by lower sales and cold weather accessories, cold weather apparel and boots due to the unseasonably warm weather. Partially offsetting this decline was continued strength in athletic apparel and footwear.
On the inventory front, we ended the year with an increase in inventory per square foot of 6.2%. A little more than half of this increase was due to the lower-than-anticipated sales of cold weather related product. Also contributing to the higher inventory level was an increase in baseball inventory, due in large part to the anticipated pick-up in sales from the recent VAT regulation change.
We pulled forward spring cleats and an increase in inventory for our e-commerce business as we anticipate growing sales momentum. Importantly, clearance inventory per square foot was down 2.1% at the end of 2012 compared to 2011. We continue to make progress in advancing our three growth drivers, which are to expand our store base, strengthen our e-commerce business, and continue to develop our margin rate accelerators.As to store expansion, we've opened new Dick's Sporting Goods stores at the rate of 8.1% in 2011. In 2012, we expect to open approximately 40 Dick's Sporting Goods stores, reflecting a slightly higher growth rate. Looking at the longer-term, we believe we have the potential to open more than 400 additional stores over the next several years, giving us approximately 900 total stores in the United States.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com
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