By  on October 3, 2007

On the business beat, September showed robust results from the Neiman Marcus Group and H&M while WWD reported that Burt's Bees could fetch a hefty price tag in a possible sale.

Late in the month, Neiman Marcus narrowed its net loss in the fourth quarter to $15.9 million from $42 million in the prior year. Operating earnings during the quarter rose 52 percent to $32.2 million from $21.2 million in the prior year. For the full-year period, net income jumped to $112 million from $56.6 million.

Meanwhile, Sweden's Hennes & Mauritz posted net income in the three months through August that climbed to 3.17 billion kronor, or $464.6 million, from 2.54 billion kronor, or $350.8 million, in the prior year. Sales gained 12 percent to 22.03 billion kronor, or $3.2 billion.

WWD reported that sales at H&M so far this month "have been strong after a weak August, which was impaired by weather conditions in Europe, according to the retailer.

In the beauty market, speculation that Burt's Bees was in play and could garner a $500 million price tag was confirmed by the company at the Natural Products Expo in Baltimore.

The personal care firm is owned by AEA Investors, which picked up the brand in 2003. Mike Indursky, Burt's Bees' chief marketing and strategic officer, said AEA will "periodically look at each investment and decide the future" of it, WWD reported. "This process could go on indefinitely," he added.

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