Reductions in expenses helped Bernard Chaus Inc. reverse a year-ago loss in its first quarter despite lower sales.

This story first appeared in the November 3, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the New York-based supplier of women’s casual and career apparel posted net income of $126,000, or breakeven on a diluted share basis, compared with a net loss of $354,000, or 1 cent a share, in the 2007 quarter. Net sales fell 4.6 percent, to $33.9 million from $35.5 million a year earlier.

Quarterly selling, general and administrative expenses were reduced by 8.2 percent to $9.6 million, from $10.4 million, and the cost of goods sold was cut 4.9 percent, to $23.9 million from $25.2 million.

Gross margin advanced 162 basis points to 29.4 percent of sales from 29.2 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Shares of the company rose 2 cents, or 9.5 percent, to close at 23 cents in over-the-counter trading Friday.

“We have entered fiscal 2009 with a focus on best positioning our company in the current environment, while continuing the strategies we have under way to build our business over the long term,” said chairman and chief executive officer Josephine Chaus. “We have made good progress in reducing our cost structure, which had a measurable impact during the quarter, and we will continue to seek out additional ways that we can enhance profitability while investing in our brands and business for the future.”

Bernard Chaus owns the Josephine Chaus, Chaus, Cynthia Steffe and Cynthia Cynthia Steffe trademarks and produces women’s sportswear under a licensing agreement with Kenneth Cole Productions.

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