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Linens 'n Things profits up almost 15 percent

CLIFTON, N.J. — Helped by its strongest same-store sales gain in the past two years, as well as lower costs and interest expense, Linens 'n Things pushed fourth-quarter profits up by 14.5 percent, to $46.1 million from $40.2 million last year.

Sales in the Christmas quarter rose by 9 percent, to $788.3 million from $723.3 million a year ago. And helping the bottom line, same-store sales rose by 4.7 percent, its best performance since 2001, said Norman Axelrod, chairman and CEO.

Coming in at $1.02 per share on a fully diluted basis, earnings beat Wall Street’s forecast by a penny. Cheered by the news, investors pushed the price of Linens 'n Things stock higher in the hours that followed the earnings release on Wednesday, Feb. 4. Shares in the retailer jumped by $2.15, or 7.5 percent, to $30.69, with more than 1.5 million shares changing hands.

"A key indicator of our performance in the fourth quarter is that sales were generated from both an increase in guest traffic, as well as an increase in average transaction," said Axelrod.

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