NEW YORK — Gross margin erosion offset a slight sales gain to push Bernard Chaus Inc.’s profits down 77.3 percent in the fourth quarter.

The New York-based maker of women’s career and casual sportswear said income for the three months ended June 30 declined to $440,000, or 1 cent a diluted share. That compares with income of $1.9 million, or 7 cents, in the same period last year, including a tax benefit and other one-time gains totaling $1.1 million, or 4 cents. Excluding the nonrecurring benefits, last year’s income was $800,000, or 3 cents. Sales for the quarter edged up 2.6 percent to $33.6 million from $32.7 million, but gross margin declined 201 basis points to 23.3 percent of sales from 25.3 percent, accounting for the lower earnings.

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