For the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2013, the Company’s consolidated pretax profit margin was 12.5%, up 1.2 percentage points over the prior year’s pretax profit margin. This increase was primarily driven by improved merchandise margins with some expense leverage on the above-plan sales. The 53 rd week in Fiscal 2013 positively impacted fourth quarter pretax margins by approximately 0.6 percentage points.
The gross profit margin for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2013 was 28.6%, 1.4 percentage points above the prior year. The increase was primarily driven by merchandise margin improvement as well as expense leverage on the above-plan sales. Selling, general and administrative costs as a percent of sales were 16.0% in the fourth quarter, a 0.2 percentage point increase over the prior year’s ratio of 15.8% largely due to the Company’s contribution to The TJX Foundation, higher incentive compensation accruals with the Company’s above-plan results and transaction expenses related to the Company's acquisition of Sierra Trading Post.
Total inventories as of February 2, 2013, were $3.0 billion, compared with $3.0 billion at the end of the prior fiscal year. Consolidated inventories on a per-store basis, including the distribution centers, at February 2, 2013, were down 6% on both a reported and constant currency basis. The Company begins the new fiscal year with excellent inventory levels and is very well positioned to buy into the plentiful opportunities it sees in the marketplace and continue shipping fresh spring merchandise to its stores.Full Year and First Quarter Fiscal 2014 Outlook For the fiscal year ending February 1, 2014, the Company expects diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $2.66 to $2.78 versus $2.55 in Fiscal 2013. Excluding the approximately $.08 benefit from the 53 rd week in the Company’s Fiscal 2013 calendar, this guidance would represent an 8% to 13% increase over the adjusted $2.47 in Fiscal 2013. This outlook is based upon estimated consolidated comparable store sales growth of 1% to 2%. For the first quarter of Fiscal 2014, the Company expects diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $.59 to $.62, which would represent a 7% to 13% increase over last year’s $.55 per share. This outlook is based upon estimated consolidated comparable store sales growth of 0% to 2%.