PetSmart ( PETM) reported a rise of 9% in its fourth-quarter net earnings, helped by robust revenue growth. The company earned $70.9 million, or 50 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $64.9 million, or 43 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted for benefits from a credit card rate settlement and option expenses, earnings were 47 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were estimating earnings of 46 cents a share. Fourth-quarter revenue rose 12.4% from a year-ago period to $1.05 billion. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.03 billion in the quarter. PetSmart estimates comparable store sales in the low to mid-single digits for the first quarter of 2006 and in the mid-single digits for the full year. The company expects earnings of 28 cents a share to 30 cents a share in the first quarter and $1.37 a share to $1.39 a share for the full year. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were looking for earnings of 31 cents a share for the first quarter and $1.38 a share for the full year. Comparable store sales grew 4.5 % in the fourth quarter. Pet services sales rose 27% to $79.5 million. The company opened 36 new stores and closed one location, during fourth quarter of 2005, compared with 24 new stores and no closures in the quarter, a year ago. Gross margin for the most recent quarter stood at 33.2% compared with 32.6%, a year ago.