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VANCOUVER — Canadian clothing retailer Aritzia Inc. touted strong sales as it eyes more opportunities for growth in its online and American businesses.

“We’re extremely pleased with our results,” said CEO Brian Hill during a conference call with analysts Thursday after the company released its fourth-quarter and full-year fiscal 2019 earnings report.

The Vancouver-based company achieved its 18th consecutive quarter of comparable sales growth, which jumped 5.5 per cent, and a three-year stacked comparable sales growth figure of 23.8 per cent.

That growth came primarily from momentum in its e-commerce business, as well as performance in its Canadian and American stores.

The company’s digital marketing efforts increased traffic to its e-commerce business by 34 per cent in the fourth quarter, which ended March 3, and by 38 per cent for the fiscal year, said president Jennifer Wong during the call. She highlighted search engine optimization enhancement, enhanced website features and functionality, and sharing clients’ product reviews on the website.

These initiatives are already yielding results, Hill said, and the company expects to continue to see strong momentum in this channel during its 2020 financial year.

Over the past six months, the company’s been working to add products that will only be sold online, he said.

It’s looking at new categories to introduce, like fragrance, swim or lingerie, he said, as well as possibly adding new fashion labels to target different types of customers.

The company also plans to add to its store count in the U.S. where its pipeline for new boutiques is more robust than it’s ever been, said Hill. In its 2020 financial year, Aritzia plans to open six boutiques south of the border, including four in new markets. It only plans to expand or reposition three Canadian locations — not open any new ones.

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Hill anticipates one day the company’s American business will become bigger than its Canadian one, though it hasn’t stated a date when it expects that shift to happen.

The company reported its net income for the fourth quarter was $18.72 million up 17.7 per cent from $15.9 million the same quarter the previous year.

Its adjusted net income for the quarter rose 11.5 per cent to $25.1 million or 21 cents per diluted share, compared with $22.5 million or 19 cents per diluted share at the same time last year.

Net revenue increased 17.9 per cent to $259.1 million, up from $219.8 million in the fourth quarter of the previous year.

The “results were solid and a thread better than expected,” wrote Irene Nattel, an analyst with RBC Dominion Securities Inc., in a note.

Aritzia was expected to earn 20 cents per share in adjusted profits on $258.4 million of revenues, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters Eikon.

For the full year, the retailer earned $78.7 million or 67 cents per diluted share on $874.3 million of revenues, compared with $57.1 million or 49 per share on $743.3 million of revenues in fiscal 2018.

Companies in this story: (TSX:ATZ)

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