Skechers USA Inc. reported fourth quarter earnings vaulted 149% to $14.6 million, or 33 cents a share, from $5.9 million, or 14 cents, a year earlier. Sales increased 36.2% to $304.5 million as compared to $223.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Analysts were looking for a 31-cent profit on sales of $298 million.

For the full year ended December 31, net income for the Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based footwear supplier improved to $71.0 million, or $1.59 a share, from $44.7 million, or $1.06, in 2005. Sales increased 19.8% to $1.205 billion from $1.006 billion.

“Our record sales are the result of successfully delivering the right product, in the right place at the right time and in the right quantity,” stated David Weinberg, COO. “We have consistently delivered more in-season product, continuously offered fresh trend-right styles and introduced new lines and categories in our domestic and international wholesale channel as well as in our Skechers-owned retail businesses. This has resulted in improved margins and increased profitability.”

“We are very pleased with our record fourth quarter and full-year 2006 sales, which improved significantly over last year's record fourth quarter and full-year sales,” said Fred Schneider, CFO of Skechers. “The fourth quarter marks the second time we have achieved over $300 million in quarterly sales, with the first being in the third quarter of 2006. Furthermore, we continue to carefully manage our inventory and prudently invest our cash as we profitably grow the business.”

Gross profit for the fourth quarter of 2006 was $127.9 million compared to $93.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2005. Gross margin improved to 42.0% from 41.6%. Gross profit for 2006 was $523.3 million compared to $420.5 million in 2005. Gross margin for 2006 was 43.4% versus 41.8% for 2005.

Robert Greenberg, Skechers CEO said, “We are entering our 15th year of business as a $1.2 billion dollar company, an achievement we are extremely proud of. This is the result of building a globally recognized and accepted brand, Skechers, as well as successfully launching several other footwear brands. By the close of 2006, we had created 10 on-target brands and over 20 divisions comprised of relevant product that is supported by compelling marketing campaigns. Many of our established fashion and street brands – which are only a few years old – such as 310 Motoring and Marc Ecko Footwear, are creating their own niches in the market place and are now becoming sought after and respected brands. We see these brands, along with our newer brands like Zoo York, as being key players in the footwear industry with strong growth potential. Additionally, we believe that our continuous marketing efforts have helped build and establish each of our brands and have positively impacted 2006 sales. Our extensive marketing campaign includes print ads, outdoor, mall kiosks and in-store displays, as well new television campaigns. We also currently have eight celebrities behind our brands – Ashlee Simpson for Skechers, JoJo for Rhino Red, Evangeline Lilly for Michelle K, Donny Barley for Zoo York, Paul Wall for Avirex, and The Game, Nas and Terrence Howard for 310, each in sync with their respective brand's image.”

Greenberg continued: “We believe that this is just the beginning for our brands and that we are in a very strong position in terms of our product offering, marketing efforts and operation execution. We believe we are now at the point where we can truly propel all our brands to new heights. We are setting new standards for ourselves and are looking forward to breaking our 2006 records in 2007.”

Weinberg continued: “With three years of record breaking quarters and our highest annual sales combined with our key performance indicators – including comp store sales growth and double-digit backlog, we believe that our strong growth pattern will continue and that 2007 will again bring new records as we push past the billion and a quarter mark in net sales.”

The company now expects first quarter 2007 net sales to be in the range of $325 million to $335 million and diluted earnings per share in the range of $0.50 to $0.55. Analysts were looking for a 48-cent profit on sales of $328 million.