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Wolford Sales Slip in 1st Qtr.

Wolford AG said its first-quarter sales fell 9.8 percent to $26.6 million, blaming the decline on exchange-rate fluctuations and store closings.

PARIS — Struggling to get a leg up in a difficult market, Wolford AG said its first-quarter sales fell 9.8 percent to $26.6 million from $29.6 million a year ago.

In local currency, sales in the three months ended July 31 fell to 23.5 million euros, versus 26.1 million euros the previous year. The Bregenz, Austria-based hosiery maker blamed 40 percent of the sales decline on exchange-rate fluctuations and 25 percent on the closure of nine unprofitable Wolford-owned boutiques.

With Europe sweltering under an extended heat wave, legwear sales, which represent half of Wolford’s business, slipped 15 percent in the quarter. Intimate apparel sales rose 11 percent, due in part to the Wolford Lagerfeld Gallery co-branded collection. Swimwear sales increased 7 percent.

By geographic region, bright spots included Spain, where sales grew 36 percent; France, up 23 percent, and the Netherlands, up 20 percent. However, sales fell 5 percent in the U.S. and 3 percent in the U.K. The company said sales in Germany, Switzerland, Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia also declined, but didn’t give precise figures.

Having completed a restructuring program, Wolford said in a statement it expects to stem the sales slide by the middle of its fiscal year, citing sales potential from new hosiery products such as Magic Touch 12 and from upgrades of existing classics in legwear and bodywear. The firm’s full-year target is to achieve the same sales as last year.