EUROPEAN TEXTILE ORDERS UP: New orders for textiles and textile products increased 8.7 percent in the 13 euro-area nations and 6.3 percent in the 27 member countries of the European Union in March from the previous year, Eurostat reported. This represents a sharp increase from small gains or losses in the previous four months. Compared with the same month last year, new orders in March for manufacturing of textiles and textile products increased by 13.6 percent in the 13 euro-area countries and 11.8 percent in the 27 members of the EU, according to the report by the European Commission's statistical agency. EU nations with the highest increases in overall manufacturing from new orders in March were Poland, up 9.1 percent; Spain and Portugal, up 5.1 percent each, and Italy, up 4.7 percent.

CHICO'S EPS DECLINE: Chico's FAS Inc. posted a 10 percent drop in first-quarter earnings, hurt by soft same-store sales, particularly in April. For the three months ended May 5, net income fell to $47.2 million, or 27 cents a diluted share, from $52.5 million, or 29 cents in the year-ago period. Sales for the quarter jumped 16 percent, to $453 million from $391 million last year, while total same-store sales fell 1.6 percent. Income from continuing operations was $49 million, or 28 cents a share, which was in line with company expectations. Chico's said its investment in the Soma brand reduced first-quarter earnings by about 2 cents a diluted share, and it expected the growth and development of the brand to cut full-year earnings by 7 cents to 10 cents a diluted share.

FILA TAPS EXECUTIVE: Fila has named Andrea Greco as vice president and chief operating officer for Fila USA, a new post. Most recently vice president of global sourcing for Plano, Tex.-based IT outsourcing firm EDS. Greco, 39, rejoins Fila USA, where he served as vice president of supply chain from 2001 to 2005. Greco also worked in operations and supply chain consulting for Ernst and Young in Italy and the U.S. and for IQXpert, a strategic sourcing software company. Based both in Fila's New York office and Sparks, Md., headquarters, Greco reports to Fila president Y.C. Cho. The activewear firm changed hands and leadership earlier this year.

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