PARIS — Sales at Groupe Guy Laroche in the first quarter continued their downward trend, dropping 15 percent to $21.9 million (127 million francs) at current exchange, it was reported by majority owner Groupe Bic.

Overall sales at Groupe Bic, however, for the three months rose 4 percent to $274.1 million (1.59 billion francs). At constant exchange rates, the increase would have been 3 percent. Earnings for the quarter were not released.

The first quarter sales decline at Laroche followed a dismal year for the fashion house. Laroche’s losses in 1993 widened to $24.8 million (144 million francs). In 1992, Laroche suffered losses of 118 million francs.

Sales at Laroche fell 28 percent last year to $62.3 million (362 million francs).

Groupe Bic attributed Laroche’s poor showing in 1993 to the overall downturn of the fashion industry and to costs related to restructuring measures designed to turn the house around. In February, Richard Hanckowiak, a longtime Laroche executive, left as Laroche president. Bruno Bich, chairman of Groupe Bic, took over as Laroche’s president. He is working with Jean-Jacques Schmoll, former partner and managing director of Georges Rech here, to get Laroche back on track.

Overall, Groupe Bic had a net profit of $68.2 million (396 million francs) on net sales of $1.04 billion (6.06 billion francs).

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