Traffic across the retail clothing industry remained challenging, resulting in a tough fourth quarter for Duluth-based Maurices.

Total sales for the quarter ended July 30 increased 1 percent over last year to $257.6 million as compared with $254.0 million, the company said in a news release. The current year's fourth quarter and fiscal year included an additional week versus last year. Comparable sales for the quarter were down 9 percent versus the same period last year.

Total fiscal year sales increased 4 percent to $1,101.3 million as compared with $1,060.6 million for the same period last year. Comparable sales were down 2 percent on a year-to-date basis.

Operating income for the fiscal year was $105.6 million, or 10 percent of sales, down from last year's $125.9 million or 12 percent of sales.

"In addition to the difficult external environment, we experienced some challenges with the transition to our new internal eCommerce platform, which unfavorably impacted the online business for the quarter," said Brian Thun, Maurices SVP/Chief Financial Officer. "I feel cautiously optimistic heading into the new fiscal year."

"While the Spring season and particularly the fourth quarter were disappointing, we are headed into Fall with an intense focus on delivering on-trend fashions and furthering our omni-channel capability to better serve our customer," said President and CEO, George Goldfarb. "Despite the Spring challenges, including tougher comp comparisons, we were able to generate double digit operating margins. We have, for the most part, overcome the challenges that plagued us in the Spring and feel good about our Fall product and strategies. maurices continues to be pleased with its growth strategy; increasing both online and new store presence."

To read the corporate report for parent company Ascena, click here.