NEW YORK — Stronger-than-expected sales in several divisions and a year-over-year improvement in its women’s jeans business paved the way for Nautica Enterprises Inc. to report fourth-quarter profits, reversing a year-ago loss.

The New York-based company, which markets apparel under its namesake brand as well as Earl Jean and John Varvatos, said for the three months ended March 1, income reached $20.7 million, or 60 cent a diluted share, against a year-ago loss of $8.4 million, or 25 cents. In 2003, the company incurred a quarterly aftertax charge of $1.6 million, or 5 cents, related to the transition of its Nautica business in Europe; while in last year’s quarter, it reported an aftertax charge of $9 million, or 27 cents, related to the closure of a distribution facility.

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