The move to higher-end goods helped margins, but the exit of the bottoms business, a significant portion of which was with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., took a chunk out of fourth-quarter results.
For the three months ended Jan. 31, earnings dropped 7.9 percent to $9.9 million, or 65 cents a diluted share, from $10.7 million, or 68 cents, a year earlier. Sales slid 8.3 percent to $212.3 million from $231.6 million. The gross margin rate expanded to 35.4 percent from 34.1 percent.
For the full year, earnings jumped 25.7 percent to $28.2 million, or $1.80 a diluted share, as sales increased 4.1 percent to $863.9 million.
Results lined up with the company's projections released last month.
"We are optimistic that we can expand our business in a difficult environment, given the strengths of our brands and offerings, as well as added growth from our recent acquisitions of C&C California and Laundry," said George Feldenkreis, chairman and chief executive officer.
Perry Ellis acquired the two brands from Liz Claiborne Inc. in February for a total of $33.1 million.
In fiscal year 2009, the company is looking to boost profits by 8 to 11 percent to $1.95 to $2 a diluted share, on a 5 to 7 percent rise in sales to $910 million to $925 million.