said Thursday that its fourth-quarter earnings beat Wall Street's lowered estimates by a penny.

The company said it earned $1.23 a share in the quarter, excluding the discontinued operations of

All Wound Up

and one-time charges. Analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

were calling for the company to earn $1.22 in the period. In January, the company warned that fourth-quarter earnings would be 10% lower than the consensus estimate of $1.37 a share as a result of weak holiday sales and reduced margins. The company reported earnings of $1.23 in the year-ago period.

The company said total fourth-quarter sales, which include revenue from

, Borders stores and


, increased to $1.19 billion, up from $1.07 billion in the year-ago period.

The company projected earnings of $1.38 to $1.40 for 2001, which includes the results from an agreement with

Ingram Book Group

. Analysts expect the company to earn $1.36 for the year. Borders also said it will record an after-tax charge of $15 million to $20 million in the first quarter stemming from the agreement with Ingram.

Borders said the first six weeks of the first quarter have been in line with expectations and the company forecast earnings of a penny a share for the period, excluding charges.

Shares of Borders, which is based in Ann Arbor, Mich., gained 9 cents, or 0.6%, to $15.29 at the close of

New York Stock Exchange