NEW YORK — Better gross profit allowed Fila Holding SpA to substantially reduce its losses in the first quarter even as sales fell sharply.

For the three months ended March 31, the Biella, Italy-based sportswear and footwear marketer reported a net loss of $7.4 million, or 7 cents an American depository share. By comparison, last year, the company lost a heftier $36.3 million, or 91 cents. Figures have been converted from euros at current exchange rates. Calculating at average exchange, Fila said the first-quarter net loss was $6.9 million versus $27.7 million a year ago.

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