By  on June 1, 2007

In line with its expectations, Movado posted a drop in first-quarter earnings and a slight gain in sales on Thursday.

First-quarter earnings fell 15.9 percent to $2.4 million, or 9 cents per diluted share, from $2.9 million, or 11 cents per diluted share, during the same period last year. Sales for the quarter increased 3.7 percent to $101.4 million from $97.7 million last year.

"We are very pleased with the strength of our first-quarter performance. As anticipated, sales growth slowed in the quarter reflecting a shift in the U.S. retail calendar, which resulted in timing differences in purchases by certain of our customers," said Efraim Grinberg, president and chief executive officer, in a statement. "We continue to support all of our brands with strong new product introductions and compelling advertising campaigns. Across our portfolio, we received an excellent response from our retail partners to the powerful array of new products debuted at the Basel Watch Fair in April."

The company said there was also an improvement in the gross margin rate during the quarter, which it sees as a key driver of its efforts to expand operating margin levels into the mid-teens.

Movado said it expects diluted earnings per share for fiscal 2008 to be approximately $1.72, as compared with fiscal 2007 adjusted diluted earnings per share of $1.54.

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