By  on April 2, 2007

Impacted by a change in the timing of shipments and a planned reduction in its tailored clothing business, Hartmarx Corp. posted a first-quarter net loss last Thursday.

The net loss came in at $3.4 million, or 9 cents per diluted share, for the quarter ended Feb. 28, which compares with earnings for the same period last year of $2.6 million, or 7 cents per share. Sales for the quarter declined 16.8 percent to $120 million from $144.2 million during the comparable period last year.t

The company said the loss was expected and resulted from factors that affected its men's tailored clothing lines.

"Despite the poor first-quarter operating results, we continue to expect a significant earnings recovery for the full year of 2007 compared to 2006," said Homi Patel, chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. "We are starting to realize the benefits from the actions we initiated last year, and we expect to return to profitability in the second quarter with significant favorable comparisons to the prior year occurring in the second half of the year."

The company shifted approximately $13 million of its advance Spring tailored clothing orders from the first quarter of last year into the second quarter this year, according to Patel. The company said it also reduced its tailored clothing operation; two tailored clothing lines included in first-quarter 2006 were not renewed this year. Additionally, Hartmarx pointed to the impact of retailer chargebacks and allowances on operating results as factors in its quarterly performance.

The company said its women's business was a bright spot for the quarter, representing approximately 25 percent of revenues in the first quarter as opposed to 16 percent for the same period last year. Sales and earnings for that segment were also improved. The company recently acquired the One Girl Who and Zooey brands.

Hartmarx manufactures business, casual and golf apparel under many of its own brands, as well as producing clothes under exclusive license agreements with brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry men's tailored clothing, Claiborne, DKNY, Pierre Cardin, Perry Ellis and others.

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