NEW YORK — Nautica Enterprises’ fight with a dissident investor group received a blow Wednesday when a prominent proxy advisory firm came out in favor of the insurgents just days before an expected showdown at the annual meeting next Tuesday.

Institutional Shareholder Services Wednesday released a report that supported proposals of the group, which is led by Barington Companies Equity Partners. The group, which holds 3.1 percent of Nautica’s stock, is asking shareholders to replace directors John Varvatos and Robert Scherer with former Revlon executive William Fox and Barington chairman James Mitarotonda. They are supporting reelection of Nautica’s other six directors.

“We do not believe that Messrs. Varvatos and Scherer offer the best outlook for Nautica shareholders,” ISS wrote. “Mr. Varvatos has been unable to fulfill his obligations as a member of the board due to company commitments overseas and Mr. Scherer lacks the retailing, strategic and financial experience that we believe the board needs to create value for shareholders.”

Nautica countered in a statement of its own. “Neither of the Barington Group’s two dissident nominees…has indicated experience in the apparel manufacturing industry or any related industry,” Nautica said in a statement, noting Varvatos’ more than 20 years of experience and Scherer’s history as general counsel and later chief financial officer of Collins & Aikman.

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