By  on March 7, 2007

BERLIN — While net profit slipped 5.6 percent on a sales decline of 3.3 percent, the Escada Group boosted earnings before taxes 13.5 percent and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization 5.4 percent in the first quarter.

On Tuesday, the German fashion group said currency effects had a negative impact on sales and net profit for the quarter ended Jan. 31. Group sales dropped to 161.2 million euros, or $209.9 million, from 166.7 million euros, or $217 million, in the prior year, while net profits fell to 107.9 million euros, or $140.5 million, from 113.9 million euros, or $148.3 million. All dollar figures are converted from the euro at the average exchange rate.

Escada said the sales decline also was spurred by the "deliberate adjournment of sales into the second quarter" to bring delivery schedules more in line with market requirements. On the basis of constant exchange rates, consolidated sales for the quarter roughly would have reached last year's levels, or down 0.5 percent.

Sales of the Escada brand were down 7.8 percent to 111.5 million euros, or $145.2 million. EBITDA for the brand, however, improved by 9.6 percent.

A day earlier, Escada announced a new strategic partnership with Vicini for the production of Escada shoes. Vicini, which belongs to the Italian designer Giuseppe Zanotti, also manufactures shoes under license for Gianfranco Ferré and Roberto Cavalli. Vicini will produce Escada prototypes and will be responsible for part of the production itself. The various Italian firms that previously had produced Escada shoes will continue to supply the company, controlled by Escada's Florence-based competence center, Escada Production Accessories. Escada creative director Damiano Biella will oversee the design of the footwear range.

The firm's board affirmed its projections for the full fiscal year 2006-07, estimating group sales growth in the midsingle-digit percentage range and a higher rate for EBITDA.

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