LOS ANGELES — Premium jeans company Blue Holdings Inc. said Monday that it will abandon the underperforming Life & Death brand, close two retail stores, reduce its workforce by about 25 percent and relaunch the Yanuk label in an effort to boost profits amid slumping sales.

The Commerce, Calif.-based company said it expects the cost-cutting measures will save $750,000 this year and an estimated $2.8 million next year. The job cuts, affecting 35 employees, will be completed by late next month. Blue Holdings also said that, within the next 60 to 90 days, it will close the two-year-old flagship for Antik Denim in Los Angeles, as well as a multibrand shop called Blu that opened in San Francisco in September 2006. Both shops are more than 3,500 square feet.

The announcement was the first major move by turnaround specialist Glenn Palmer, who joined Blue Holdings as president and chief executive officer in July. At the time, he told WWD that his initial priorities included reducing expenses and maximizing the company's brands.

Although Blue Holdings officials previously dismissed speculation that they would discontinue any brands, Life & Death was barely a year old before it met its demise. A side project of Alexandre Caugant and Philippe Naouri, the designers behind Blue Holdings' Antik Denim, the line of T-shirts, silk scarves and dresses featured the nature drawings of artist Cynthia Tello.

Blue Holdings reported that second-quarter net income dropped to $7,236 from $1.7 million a year ago, as revenue was almost halved to $8.4 million from $15.2 million, and expenses stayed relatively flat at more than $4 million.

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