NEW YORK — Elizabeth Arden Inc. posted third-quarter results Thursday in which profits and sales were lower than year-ago figures.

For the three months ended March 31, income was $702,000, or 2 cents a diluted share, compared with $5.6 million, or 19 cents, last year. Excluding a debt-extinguishment charge and a charge in connection with the expensing of stock-based compensation, income was $2.3 million, or 8 cents a share. Sales in the quarter fell by 3.5 percent to $191.3 million from $198.3 million.

For the nine months, income fell by 17.7 percent to $34.7 million, or $1.17 a diluted share, from $42.1 million, or $1.41, in the same year-ago period. Sales gained 4.3 percent to $764.6 million from $733.4 million.

“While we experienced weakness in the U.S. market as a result of the Federated and May department store merger and certain mass retailers’ inventory control initiatives, our business overall performed in line with expectations,” said E. Scott Beattie, chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.

Beattie added that the company expects the “growth and profitability initiatives implemented during this fiscal year — particularly the organizational improvements in Europe and Asia, primarily in China — to contribute to both revenues and earnings next year.”

This story first appeared in the May 5, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.