G-III’S SPORTSWEAR FOCUS: G-III Apparel Group Ltd. widened its third-quarter loss, even though sales skyrocketed 55 percent. For the period ended Jan. 31, the New York-based outerwear and sportswear firm’s loss expanded to $4.5 million, or 66 cents a diluted share, versus a loss of $3.7 million, or 55 cents, in the year-ago quarter. Excluding a $3.4 million aftertax charge in connection with the closure of an Indonesian manufacturing facility, the loss would have narrowed to $1.1 million, or 16 cents, from last year. Sales were up 55 percent to $47.7 million from $30.7 million. For the nine months, income fell 83.8 percent to $382,000 from $2.4 million last year. Sales were essentially flat, gaining just 0.6 percent to $202.7 million from $201.4 million. Morris Goldfarb, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement, "Our sports apparel business is expected to be the most significant driver of revenue growth." The firm’s newer businesses include Cole Haan and Sean John. It has a new men’s line under the licensed James Dean name, and its own new women’s brand, Black Rivet.

FAMILY TIES: Strong sales led to commensurate bottom-line gains at Family Dollar Stores Inc. in the second quarter. For the three months ended March 1, the Matthews, N.C.-based discount retail chain reported net income climbed 14 percent to $72.7 million, or 42 cents a diluted share, versus year-ago profits of $63.8 million, or 37 cents. Earnings per share matched the Wall Street consensus estimate. Sales for the period advanced 13.7 percent to $1.26 billion from $1.11 billion a year ago, as same-store sales increased approximately 2.9 percent. In a statement, chief executive officer Howard Levine attributed the robust results to increased sales in existing stores and to sales recorded in new stores opened as part of the company’s expansion program. Strong sales of core basic consumable goods continued to be strong, said Levine, and he noted this was the 28th consecutive quarter of profit growth. An 80 basis point expansion of gross margin as a percentage of sales also added to the increased earnings. Overall, for the first half of the year, Family Dollar recorded a 14.2 percent gain in net income to $130.2 million, or 75 cents, versus $114 million, or 66 cents, a year ago. Sales for the half rose 13.6 percent to $2.36 billion from $2.08 billion last year, as comparable-store sales increased approximately 3 percent.

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