Q.E.P. Co.'s fiscal 2004 financial results have come in with net sales up 10.8 percent to $143.3 million vs. fiscal 2003 net sales of $129.3 million for the year ended Feb. 29, 2004. For the fiscal 2004 fourth quarter, net sales were a quarterly record $37.5 million up 16.1 percent compared with $32.3 million for the same period last fiscal year. Q.E.P. has recorded quarterly year-over-year increases in 22 of the last 24 periods.

Gross profit for the fourth quarter declined from 34.4 percent to 34.0 percent. This is a result of a slight change in the sales mix and an increase in costs of certain raw materials related to higher fuel costs and the weakened U.S. dollar. Gross profit for the fiscal 2004 and 2003 years was 34.3 percent.

Operating income for the fiscal 2004 fourth quarter approximated operating income for the same period last fiscal year. For fiscal 2004, operating income increased 3.9 percent to $7.5 million from fiscal 2003, while being impacted by a $617,000 charge taken in the first quarter for the early repayment of $4.5 million of subordinated debt. Excluding the first quarter charge, operating income for fiscal 2004 would have been nearly $8.1 million, an increase of 12.5 percent over the same period last year.

The company's net income increased 18.7 percent for the fiscal 2004 fourth quarter to $1.0 million, or 29 cents per diluted share, compared with $881,000, or 26 cents per diluted share earned for the same quarter last fiscal year. For fiscal 2004, the company's net income was $3.5 million, or 99 cents per diluted share, compared with nearly $3.1 million, or 90 cents per diluted share before the $3.0 million cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle relating to impairment of goodwill for the comparable period last fiscal year.