SAFILO OFFERING: Eyewear group Safilo is preparing to launch a high-yield bond of up to $324.57 million, possibly by the end of March. Credit Suisse First Boston, which last year bought an unspecified minority stake in Safilo through its private equity unit, is coordinating the bond issue. Safilo, which recently signed a deal to produce and distribute eyewear for Giorgio Armani, currently makes eyewear for brands including Christian Dior, Gucci and Polo Ralph Lauren.
MOVING OUT: In light of its merger with Gart Sports, The Sports Authority plans to close its own Fort Lauderdale, Fla., headquarters within a year. There is “a high level of interest [among the retailer’s 500 employees] who see the potential of the new company” to relocate to Engelwood, Colo., where Gart is headquartered, said Marty Hanaka, chairman of The Sports Authority. But he will continue to call the Sunshine State home. “I’ll have an office in Denver, but I will not relocate my family,” he said.
WEAK QUARTER, STRONG YEAR: Blair Corp.’s fourth-quarter sales gain failed to materialize on the bottom line. For the three months ended Dec. 31, the Warren, Pa.-based multichannel direct marketer of women’s apparel reported net income fell 15.4 percent to $6.2 million, or 77 cents a diluted share. That compares with last year’s earnings of $7.4 million, or 93 cents. Net income included an additional $300,000, or 4 cents, due to adjustments in the provisions for doubtful accounts and returns. Net income for the year-ago period included a one-time reduction in income tax expense of $1.5 million, or 19 cents, and additional net income of $1.3 million, or 16 cents, due to adjustments in the provisions for doubtful accounts and returns. Sales for the period rose 4.6 percent to $167.9 million from $160.5 million a year ago. Overall, for the full fiscal year, Blair’s profits more than doubled, gaining 105.9 percent to $19.1 million, or $2.38. Last year, the company recorded earnings of $9.3 million, or $1.17. Sales slipped 2.1 percent to $568.5 million from $580.7 million. In a statement, chief executive Bryan Flanagan attributed the increased earnings to gross margin expansion driven by reduced costs.