NEWSREEL

OXFORD UPS THE PAYOUT: Oxford Industries has raised its quarterly dividend to 20 cents a share from 18 cents. The dividend reflecting the new rate is payable on March 4 to shareholders of record on Feb. 15.
In the six months ended Dec. 2, the Atlanta-based apparel maker, as reported, posted an 11.3 percent rise in earnings to $10.9 million, or $1.26 a share, as sales gained 9.2 percent to $357.5 million. Women's sportswear led the way in sales gains, the firm noted. In the fiscal year ended June 3, 1994, women's wear, including some girls' merchandise, accounted for 27 percent of Oxford's sales of $624.6 million--or approximately $169 million.

PRESS TO FRENCH CONNECTION: Janie Press has been named national sales manager for private label at French Connection, New York. It's a new post, in which Press will be responsible for further developing the company's private label division. She will report to Robert Bronstein, executive vice president of sales. Press was East Coast sales director at Switch, a Los Angeles-based junior sportswear firm.

COVERING ST. JOHN: PaineWebber has initiated coverage of St. John Knits with an "attractive" rating for investors. David Frankel, analyst at PaineWebber, said St. John, based in Irvine, Calif., is "one of the best companies in the industry" and "has some of the highest gross and net income margins." He added that the company has "substantial" growth potential.
Frankel estimates St. John will earn $2.20 a share in fiscal 1995. For the year ending Oct. 30, 1994, St. John earned $1.82 a share, on sales of $128 million.
PaineWebber brought St. John public in March 1993 at $17 a share. St. John closed Tuesday up 1/2 at 30 1/4 on the New York Stock Exchange.

PROMOTION AT GFT: Wayne M. Markowitz has been appointed senior vice president and chief financial officer at GFT USA Corp., the American arm of Gruppo GFT, based in Turin, Italy.
Markowitz will assume some of the responsibilities that had been held by Giulio Salvi, who, as reported, on Jan. 1 moved up from executive vice president and chief operating officer to president and chief executive officer of GFT USA.

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