BRENTWOOD, Tenn. -- Tractor Supply Company, the largest retail farm and ranch store chain in the United States, announced that net income was up 40 percent for its fourth fiscal quarter.

Net sales increased 31.1 percent to $597.9 million from $456.0 million last year. Since fiscal 2005 was a 53-week year, the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005 contained 14 weeks of operations compared to 13 weeks in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004. Sales for the additional week accounted for approximately 6.9 percent of the total sales increase for the quarter.

For the fiscal year, net sales increased 18.9 percent to $2,068.0 million, and same-store sales increased 5.7 percent after last year's 9.9 percent gain. Fiscal 2005 included an additional week compared to last year, which accounted for approximately 1.8 percent of the sales increase.

Same-store sales increased 10.0 percent compared with last year's 7.7 percent gain. The company's same-store sales improvement was strongest in agricultural, seasonal, livestock and pet products, and clothing, with the greatest strength in the southern stores.

Jim Wright, president and CEO, said, "During the fourth quarter, we generated very strong same-store sales on top of solid increases in the prior three comparable quarters. We are pleased with our ability to not only drive top line gains, but to also improve our profitability, as evidenced by our 80-basis-point improvement in operating margin.

"Our performance was driven by the entire team's strong execution during the quarter. We successfully anticipated our customers' needs, our stores were in excellent condition, our merchandise presentation was better than ever, our advertising was compelling, and our customers responded very positively to these efforts. At the same time, we also continued to improve our product sourcing, generate distribution efficiencies, and contain operating costs at the store level."

During fiscal 2005, the company opened 65 new stores, acquired an additional 16 stores through the purchase of Del's Farm Supply, relocated 18 stores and closed one store. In the prior year, the company opened 53 new stores, relocated 20 stores and closed one store.

"I am extremely pleased with our results for the full year," Wright said. "Our passion to serve those who live the rural lifestyle combined with our ability to adapt to the changing marketplace allowed us to further our track record of success."

As of Dec. 31, 2005, Tractor Supply Company operated 595 stores in 37 states and one store in British Columbia. The Company's stores are focused on supplying the lifestyle needs of recreational farmers and ranchers.

SOURCE: Tractor Supply Company via PR Newswire.