MUNICH--Escada Group reported net earnings of $19.1 million (32 million marks) for the year ended Oct. 31, up 14.3 percent from a year earlier. Pretax earnings also came in at $19.1 million (32 million marks), compared with 31 million marks a year earlier, a gain of about 3 percent. A company spokesman noted last year's taxes were canceled out by tax refunds due from previous years. Sales for the group last year rose 5.2 percent to $734.3 million (1.23 billion marks), in line with preliminary results released in February. At Escada AG, the group's main operation based here featuring the Escada and Laurel labels, pretax earnings rose 26.3 percent to $14.3 million (24 million marks) from 19 million marks a year earlier, while sales rose 9.4 percent to $342.7 million (574 million marks). Along with Escada AG, consolidated worldwide sales for the group come from three companies: Schneberger, based in Munster, Germany; Blusen Neumann, Berlin, and Kemper, Krefeld, Germany, whose labels include the licensed Cerruti 1881 line. Regionally, Germany remains the group's largest market, although sales last year were down to $240 million (402 million marks) from 407 million marks the year before. Retail sales in Escada Group's 131 company-owned shops rose 9 percent to $166 million (278 million marks). The company said there were no sales declines in any country where it has shops. The greatest gains, all in double digits, were in France, England and Sweden. Although sales remain minimal in China, the firm noted sales there rose 59 percent. Escada and Cerruti 1881 posted the strongest increases among company-owned stores, both achieving double-digit gains.
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