Against the backdrop of a stagnant economy, a 72% increase in profit for Group 1 Software ( GSOF) sure stands out. Group 1, a small outfit that provides an array of direct marketing services and solutions to names like American Express ( AXP) and Wal-Mart ( WMT), posted fourth-quarter profit of $3.5 million, or 22 cents a share, better than the year-ago profit of $2 million, or 14 cents a share. Shares leapt 11.6% to $21.87 on the news in morning trading. The lone analyst covering the Maryland-based company expected it to earn 15 cents a share, which was slightly below what the company said it expected to earn for the quarter. The company said revenue hit $29.2 million in the fourth quarter, which not only topped the year-ago quarter by 21% but also beat its own internal estimates. For the full year, the company earned $8.7 million, up 99% from the $4.4 million it earned a year ago, on $104.3 million in revenue, up 17% from fiscal year 2002. Group 1 Software earned 59 cents a share for fiscal 2003, better than the 55 cents a share expected by the one analyst and also the 32 cents a share from the previous year. "We are obviously pleased with the very strong results we saw for the quarter and full year in both of our operating segments," said Chief Executive Bob Bowen, in a press release on Monday morning. "Our traditional and new products contributed to our growth both in the fourth quarter and over the full year." Indeed, the company credited strong performance in enterprise solutions software and customer communications management software for the jump in profit. All told, license fee revenue for the company jumped 53% on the year in the fourth quarter, with the customer communications product growing 70%.