Oxford Industries Inc. squeezed out a first-quarter profit for the period ended Aug. 31, despite a 16.2 percent decline in sales.

For the first quarter, net income fell by 56.4 percent to $4.8 million, or 27 cents a share, from $11 million, or 62 cents, a year ago. Sales fell to $237.9 million from $284.1 million last year.

This story first appeared in the October 15, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The company also said it is shifting its fiscal calendar to have the year-end period fall on the Saturday closest to Jan. 31, a time frame that is typical of many industry peers and its retail customers. As a result, Oxford will report an eight-month transition period that commenced on June 2, 2007 and will conclude on Feb. 8, 2008.

The company said Tommy Bahama sales decreased 4.8 percent to $99.2 million and said challenging consumer credit and residential real estate markets have negatively impacted sales. The Ben Sherman business saw sales dip 3.9 percent to $37.6 million, which was expected in part due to the decision to discontinue sales of Evisu denim after completion of spring 2007 deliveries.

“We continue to advance our strategy to rationalize our less profitable businesses and focus on the branded lifestyle market. We believe that the slowdown in our Tommy Bahama business is related to current market conditions, but that the Tommy Bahama brand remains strong and the business is well positioned to rebound as these conditions abate. We are encouraged by continued progress in the repositioning of the Ben Sherman business in both the U.S. and the U.K.,” said Oxford chairman and chief executive officer J. Hicks Lanier in a statement.

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