By  on March 8, 2005

LONDON — It’s the moment Bally management has been waiting to crow about. The Swiss accessories and ready-to-wear company has broken even for the first time since its purchase, and subsequent relaunch, by Texas Pacific Group in 1999.

Bally chief executive Marco Franchini said in a statement Monday that the result was due to increased sales, healthier margins and better cost efficiency. Over the past two years, there have been fewer markdowns, a tighter supply chain and an overall improved cost base.

“We are very pleased with the result, and Texas Pacific Group is continuing to support the brand. Nevertheless, breaking even represents only the beginning of our work,” he said in the statement.

In September, Franchini told WWD that Bally was “on track” to break even in the 2004 fiscal year and report a positive earnings before interest and taxes for the first time since TPG purchased the business.

Franchini estimated that sales for the 2004 fiscal year would be approximately 300 million euros, or $396.2 million at current exchange. The privately held company did not release any figures in its statement Monday.

Over the past year, Bally also launched its new store concept in cities including London, Beverly Hills, Hong Kong and Geneva, and opened new stores in Sydney, Las Vegas and Taipei.

Bally has a total of 244 stores worldwide. The bulk of its sales come from shoes (56 percent) followed by accessories (36 percent) and rtw (8 percent).

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