Skechers USA Inc. late Wednesday said stronger retail sales and margins resulted in fourth-quarter earnings that beat not only their own earlier forecasts but also Wall Street expectations.

After the markets closed, the Manhattan Beach casual shoe maker reported net income of $27.9 million (58 cents per share), compared with a net loss of $20.4 million (-44 cents) a year ago. Net sales rose 30 percent to more than $388 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected Skechers to report per-share net income of 52 cents on revenue of nearly $387 million.

Gross margin in the quarter 2009 was 48.7 percent, compared with 31.9 percent for the same period a year earlier.

"Our strong margins are a result of our ability to manage our expenses, the strength of our Skechers retail business, more in-line goods selling through and less close-out product, which was primarily liquidated in the first half of the year,” said Chief Operating Officer David Weinberg in a press release.

Shares earlier closed up $1, or 3.4 percent, to $30.09 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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