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Skechers boosts profit forecast

January 09, 2007|From Bloomberg News

Skechers U.S.A. Inc., a maker of sports and casual shoes, raised its fourth-quarter profit forecast as much as 27% on Monday because of increased sales growth. Shares closed at their highest price in more than five years.

Earnings will reach 28 cents to 31 cents a share, up from a previous forecast of 22 cents to 27 cents, the Manhattan Beach company said. Sales will be as much as $300 million, compared with a previous forecast of $265 million.

New products and an advertising campaign promoting them to teenagers boosted sales by more than 30% from $223 million a year earlier, the company said. Sales have increased for 11 consecutive quarters. Skechers expects record fourth-quarter results after "high single-digit" gains in sales at stores open at least a year.

Shares of Skechers rose $2.01, or 6.2%, to $34.54. The last time it closed as high was in May 2001. The stock more than doubled last year.

"Teen footwear seems to be doing well," said Ivan Feinseth, managing director of Matrix USA, a financial services company based in New York. "Teens have a lot of discretionary money from their parents."

A 29% increase in unfilled orders at the end of the year and the same-store sales gains will contribute to a "positive" 2007, the company said.

"There aren't many brands with an order increase that high," said Christopher Svezia, a New York-based analyst at Susquehanna Investment Group. Retailers liked the company's emphasis on fashionable designs and stylish materials, such as canvas, he said.

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