Updated from 8:10 a.m. EST

Specialty retailer

Sharper Image


reported record fourth-quarter earnings and revenue Thursday, only managing to meet analysts' expectations, and raised its outlook for first-quarter and full-year results.

The San Francisco-based company had a profit of $22.8 million, or $1.40 a share, on revenue of $278.4 million, vs. $16.9 million, or $1.26 a share, on revenue of $216.5 million in the year-ago period. Revenue was slightly above the consensus estimate.

Overall sales rose 33%, while same-store sales increased 17% during the quarter ended Jan. 31. Sales gains during the fourth quarter were broad-based, with Internet sales up 34% and catalog sales up 14%.

"We had a great fourth quarter," the company said in what may be a bit of an understatement. Revenue jumped 29% and earnings per share rose 11% during the period.

The company also had record earnings and revenue in 2003, when it opened 25 new stores. Sharper Image plans to increase its number of stores by 15% to 20% in 2004.

Later in the day, management raised its guidance for full-year earnings to $1.99 to $2.03 a share and first-quarter EPS to 10 cents to 11 cents a share.

In February, the retailer forecast earnings of 7 cents to 9 cents a share in the quarter ending April 30 and $1.96 to $2 a share in 2004.

Consensus estimates call for 10 cents a share in the first quarter and $1.95 a share for the year, according to Thomson One Analytics.

"We have positive sales momentum in February and March; a great line-up of exciting new product introductions," the company said in a statement accompanying its results. "We believe we are well positioned to benefit from our broadening customer demographics and an improving economy."

Shares lost 46 cents, or 1.4%, to $33.77 Wednesday.