While other companies struggled over the holiday season, Inter Parfums performed strongly with net sales up 32 percent to $119.4m for the quarter ending December, 31. The strong fourth quarter performance helped increase the company's annual sales figures 21 percent to $389.6m. High sales drive up profits Higher than expected sales helped the perfume manufacturer lift its operating income up 31 percent to $43.7m as costs were kept under control with operating margins widening 2 percentage point to 14 percent. The seasonal sales boom also fed right down to the bottom line helping Inter Parfums beat its net income forecast for the year. Trumping its latest guidance figure of $22.3m, Inter Parfums net income increased 34 percent to $23.8m. Inter Parfums' CEO Jean Madar said: "As did many of our peers, we entered the fourth quarter of 2007 with much trepidation, and looked to contain costs and brace for a turbulent holiday season. "With fourth quarter sales far exceeding our expectations, fourth quarter profits came in considerably better than anticipated, and as a result, our net income and diluted earnings per share surpassed our prior 2007 guidance." Geographical breakdown Breaking the annual sales figures down geographically, sales in the US rose 15 percent following the success of products developed for Gap stores. However, the European business, which accounts for 85 percent of consolidated sales, stole the show with a 22 percent increase to $330.8m. Madar said: "With regard to European based operations in 2007, the licence agreement for the Van Cleef & Arpels fragrance brand, the acquisition of Lanvin fragrance brands and trademarks and the establishment of four majority-owned subsidiaries were among the major developments. "Of special note, Burberry fragrance, the largest brand in the prestige portfolio, performed exceptionally well, even in the absence of a major new launch." Future performance Looking ahead to the coming year, Inter Parfums expects to be able to ride any economic storms. Madar said product launches for 2008 will be more significant than last year's putting the company in good stead for further high sales growth. "As a result of the better than expected performance in 2007 and the initial success with our 2008 launch schedule, we are raising our 2008 guidance to net sales of approximately $442m and net income of approximately $25.8m or $1.25 per diluted share," said Inter Parfums' CFO Russel Greenberg.