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NEW YORK — Bolstered by domestic wholesale sales as well as a shift toward higher-priced goods, St. John Knits International Inc. on Wednesday posted robust third-quarter results.<BR><BR>The Irvine, Calif.-based firm reported a 55 percent jump in...

NEW YORK — Bolstered by domestic wholesale sales as well as a shift toward higher-priced goods, St. John Knits International Inc. on Wednesday posted robust third-quarter results.

The Irvine, Calif.-based firm reported a 55 percent jump in profits to $2.9 million, or 47 cents a diluted share, for the three months ended Aug. 1 from $1.8 million, or 29 cents, last year. Sales rose 8.7 percent to $90.8 million from $83.5 million.

The company said in its quarterly report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, or Form 10K, that the sales increase was principally attributable to a $5.1 million increase in sales to domestic wholesale customers. The company also said that it saw a shift in sales to higher-priced knitwear apparel.

For the nine months, income rose by 54.8 percent to $13.7 million from $8.8 million.

St. John Knits also included as part of the filing the employment agreement between the company and its chief executive officer, Richard Cohen. Cohen was ceo of Italian luxury men’s wear firm Ermenegildo Zegna’s U.S. operations for the past 16 years.

The agreement, dated June 3, 2004, is a five-year contract and provides Cohen with an annual base salary of $1.2 million. His first eligibility for review for a possible increase won’t be until 2006. He also would get to keep his sign-on bonus of $300,000 so long as his employment continues through the end of 2005.

— Vicki M. Young

This story first appeared in the September 16, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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