By  on June 29, 2007

LONDON — An alleged misappropriation of funds and ongoing administrative costs increased Hardy Amies' operating loss by 73 percent to 2 million pounds, or $3.9 million at current exchange, for the financial year to December 2006, from a loss of 1.2 million pounds, or $2.4 million, in the previous financial year, the company said.

A total of 352,677 pounds, or $704,000, was stolen from the Savile Row couture and ready-to-wear house during 2005 and 2006.

"If there is a positive aspect to this horrible business, it is that the underlying trading position of the business is better than had been previously reported," said Andrew Manders, chairman of the 61-year-old company, in the statement, adding that police had issued a warrant for the arrest of the company's former financial controller in relation to the missing funds.

Sales last year increased 10.8 percent to 1.2 million pounds, or $2.4 million, from 1.1 million pounds, or $2.2 million, in the same period the previous year, and couture sales at the brand's flagship on Savile Row had increased by 81.7 percent.

Under Manders, the company has introduced a design team to work on rtw ranges with Ian Garlant, the brand's creative director, and plans to open a small number of retail stores in the U.K. in the fall. Arev, the Icelandic company that owns 49 percent of the brand, has made a loan of $5.7 million available for the company to finance its retail rollout and fund a new women's rtw collection, which also will launch in the fall.

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