Carter Hawley Hale Stores Inc. on Tuesday reported an increase in fourth-quarter operating earnings, but the Los Angeles-based company suffered a 36.7% drop in earnings from continuing operations for all of 1984 because of higher interest expenses. However, the retailer ended the year with a 33% increase in net income thanks to the sale of its Waldenbooks division.
Carter Hawley, parent of the Broadway, Neiman-Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, said sales rose 19% to $1.35 billion in the three months ended Feb. 2. Earnings from continuing operations rose 4.6% to $32.57 million.
However, net income for the fourth quarter fell to $32.57 million from last year's $50.9 million, which included net income from Waldenbooks, a gain on the sale of the firm's Broadway Plaza interest and a gain on the retirement of debentures.
Carter Hawley, like other retailers, was hurt in the fourth quarter by intense promotional activity and price cuts.
For the 53-week period ended Feb. 2, Carter Hawley's earnings from continuing operations totaled $28.23 million, compared to $44.59 million in the 52 weeks of last year. (Once every five years, retailers operate on a 53-week year.)
The decline was the result of higher interest expenses--$117.24 million this year, compared to $92.35 million last. Carter Hawley borrowed heavily to purchase a large block of its own shares during a successful anti-takeover battle.
Also reporting earnings was Federated Department Stores Inc., the Cincinnati-based parent of Bullock's and I. Magnin.
Net income for the year was $329.3 million, below last year's $338.3 million. Sales for the 53-week year totaled $9.67 billion, up from $8.69 billion for the 52 weeks of last year.