By  on May 30, 2008

Movado Group Inc. said first-quarter earnings dropped by almost half on disappointing domestic sales. The watchmaker reaffirmed full-year fiscal 2009 earnings in the range of $1.65 to $1.72 a diluted share on sales of between $555 million and $565 million. For the three months ended April 30, earnings fell 48 percent to $1.2 million, or 5 cents a diluted share, from $2.4 million, or 9 cents, in the comparable 2007 period. On average, analysts expected earnings of 4 cents a share. Sales remained flat at $101.4 million, above the consensus estimate of $97.3 million. Excluding sales of products discontinued since the first quarter of last year, sales were up 2.7 percent."In our seasonally smallest quarter, the strength of our international business, which generates approximately half of our wholesale watch revenue, offset the continued effects of a challenging retail and economic environment in the United States," said Efraim Grinberg, president and chief executive officer. "New product introductions remain an important driver to our business, particularly in the current U.S. consumer spending environment." He added that the firm, which markets its products under a variety of owned and licensed brands, including ESQ and Coach, had "made significant headway" in reducing the number of its wholesale doors.Shares of Movado lost 4.7 percent to close at $22.

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