Genesco reported a sales increase of 4.4 percent to $932.2 million for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30. Sales for the Schuh Group of $122.2 million were down by 2 percent. The company's earnings from continuing operations of $46.7 million were down from $51.8 million for the fourth quarter of the previous fiscal year. Adjusted for non-recurring items, earnings from continuing operations were $45.8 million and $54.7 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Fourth-quarter earnings came in just below the company's guidance range as a result of gross margin pressure related to Genesco's decision to make a final push to complete its year-long program to correct inventory levels in the Lids Sports Group and similarly aggressive efforts to clear inventory after a slow holiday selling season at Schuh, said the company. In addition, a later start to IRS tax refunds than in the previous year reduced comparable sales at the end of the quarter. The company said that while overall results were disappointing, the strong performance of Journeys and Johnston & Murphy was encouraging.
Consolidated comparable sales, including same-store sales and comparable e-commerce and catalog sales, increased by 4 percent, with a 5 percent increase in the Journeys Group, a 3 percent increase in the Lids Sports Group, a 2 percent decline in the Schuh Group, and a 6 percent increase in the Johnston & Murphy Group. Comparable sales for the company reflected a 2 percent growth in same-store retail sales and 21 percent growth in e-commerce sales.
For the full year ended Jan. 30, the company reported sales of $3.0 billion, an increase of 5.7 percent from the prior fiscal year. Earnings from continuing operations were $97.1 million, down from $99.4 million for fiscal 2015. Fiscal 2016 earnings include $9.4 million in asset impairments, asset write-downs, network intrusion expenses, compensation expense associated with the Schuh deferred purchase price, and other legal matters, partially offset by a $7.3 million gain on the sale of Lids Team Sports.
Fiscal 2015 earnings include an indemnification asset write-off, network intrusion-related expenses, compensation expense associated with the deferred purchase price for Schuh, effects of the change in accounting for deferred bonuses under the EVA incentive plan, asset impairments, and other legal matters, partially offset by a gain on a lease termination. Adjusted for these items in both years, earnings from continuing operations were $98.6 million for fiscal 2016, and $112.3 million for fiscal 2015.
In the first quarter through March 5, 2016, comparable sales increased by 3 percent from the same period last year, reflecting the impact on early February sales from the delay in receipt of income tax refunds by customers, and recovery later in the month as tax refunds began, the company said. Genesco expects to realize some of the benefits of last year's hard work and long-term strategic plans in the new fiscal year.