Movado Group Inc. returned to the black in the first quarter as the company focused on its wholesale business and boosted sales.


Profits attributable to the Paramus, N.J.-based firm totaled $491,000, or 2 cents a share, and compared with year-ago losses of $12.4 million, or 50 cents. Looking at just continuing operations, year-ago losses tallied 24 cents a share.


Sales for the three months ended April 30 rose 23.4 percent to $89.9 million from $72.8 million.


Gross profits rose to 54.1 percent of sales from 52.9 percent as the firm moved away from its boutique business, which was shuttered last June.


“Our results for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 demonstrate that the strategic initiatives we have implemented are creating momentum for our brands in the marketplace,” said Efraim Grinberg, chairman and chief executive officer. “Our double-digit sales growth during the quarter was driven by a strong performance in Movado and licensed brands both domestically and internationally.”

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