NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Teen apparel retailers -- like their target demographic -- are fickle investments. One day they can be part of the popular clique, and just as easily be shunned as chronically uncool the next day. But there have been some retailers that have withstood the "cool test" time and time again. Most notably, Aeropostale ' store picture below, which reported on Thursday record fourth-quarter earnings that surged 42%.
During the quarter, the company earned $96.6 million, or $1 a share, compared with $68.2 million, or 68 cents, in the year-ago period. Analysts expected the company to earn 95 cents a share. Sales jumped 16% to $801.2 million from $690 million, as same-store sales increased 9%. Shares of Aeropostale are spiking 6.1% to $28.65 in after-hours trading. Another lesser known company, Buckle ( BKE), is also emerging from the recession relatively unscathed. Earlier today, Buckle, a premium denim retailer, said its fourth-quarter profit jumped 23% to $42.1 million, or 90 cents a share, compared with $34.3 million, or 74 cents, in the year-ago period. Analysts were expecting earnings of 84 cents a share for Buckle. Buckle sales rose 9% to $274.4 million, as shoppers appeared willing to pay for Buckle's premium quality denim and quality customer service.
Buckle was lifted by its online sales, which soared 36% to $18 million. Same-store sales grew 3.8%. American Eagle Outfitters ( AEO) also posted a positive fourth-quarter, although its earnings were overshadowed by its announcement that it is shuttering its flailing Martin + Osa chain. The news has been a long time coming, as Martin + Osa has been a drag on American Eagle's business since its inception in 2006. In 2009, Martin + Osa recorded a loss of about $44 million. All 28 Martin + Osa stores will close, as well as its online business -- moves that should be completed by American Eagle by the end of the year. Removing Martin + Osa from the equation should be boost to the second half of the year for American Eagle. While the Martin + Osa announcement was significant, the fourth quarter was nothing to be ignored on its own terms. American Eagle earned $59.3 million, or 29 cents a share, compared with $32.7 million, or 16 cents, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, American Eagle actually earned 33 cents a share, in line with analysts' estimates. American Eagle's sales jumped 7% to $972 million from $905.7 million, while its same-store sales rose 5%. Looking ahead, the teen retailer predicts first-quarter earnings in the range of 15 cents to 17 cents a share. Wall Street is calling for 15 cents a share for American Eagle.
But not everyone was, well, so hot. Hot Topic ( HOTT) saw it fourth-quarter profit nearly halved, as same-store sales continue to decline. During the quarter Hot Topic earned $8 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with $14.2 million, or 32 cents, in the prior year. Hot Topic's sales tumbled 10% to $214.2 million and the company found itself with too much Twilight saga merchandise, and was forced to resort to more heavy discounts. The first quarter isn't expected to get much better, as the Goth-inspired retailer said it may post a wider-than-expected loss. Hot Topic foresees a loss between 2 cents and 5 cents a share, while analysts are looking for a loss of 2 cents a share. Pacific Sunwear of California ( PSUN) widened its fourth-quarter loss to $36 million, or 56 cents a share, from a loss of $27 million, or 42 cents, in the same quarter last year. This was significantly greater than the loss of 28 cents analysts predicted. Pacific Sunwear's sales tumbled 17% to $293 million. Like Hot Topic, PacSun is also expecting a bigger first-quarter loss than Wall Street. Pacific Sunwear management foresees a loss between 32 cents and 38 cents a share, while analysts forecast a much smaller loss of 14 cents a share. As a result, shares of Pacific Sunwear are tanking 13% to $5.02 after the bell. Zumiez's ( ZUMZ) stock is wiping out after it, too, forecast a wider-than-expected loss in its first quarter.
The skate- and surf-inspired retailer predicts a loss of between 9 cents and 11 cents a share, significantly more than the 1 cent loss Wall Street expects. In the fourth quarter, Zumiez earned $8.8 million, or 30 cents a share, compared with $6.3 million, or 22 cents, last year. Analysts were looking for earnings of 27 cents a share for Zumiez . Zumiez sales increased 5.5% to $132.4 million from $125.5 million, though same-store sales fell 1.7%. Shares of Zumiez are plunging 9% to $18.45 in after-market trading. -- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.