KARAN LINE SPURS WACOAL

Byline: Koji Hirano

TOKYO — Wacoal America, the U.S. unit of the Japanese intimate apparel giant, posted a 19 percent increase in sales to $65 million in the fiscal year ended March 31.
Helping to fuel the gain was an in-store consulting program for silhouette analysis, said a Wacoal spokesman. He also noted that about 35 percent of the sales of Wacoal America was done by the licensed Donna Karan Intimates line.
“This brand has been doing well,” the spokesman said, although he declined to comment on profits.
On a consolidated basis, net profits of the Wacoal group in the year rose 11.2 percent to $59.2 million, as operating profits edged ahead 1.5 percent to $95.1 million. The group gained $23.6 million in the sale of real estate under a restructuring plan. The year also included efforts to cut costs and expenses.
Pretax profits increased 18.7 percent to 125 million dollars.
Group sales — including the core company Wacoal Corp. here and 33 subsidiaries — rose 1 percent to $1.23 billion. The Asian fiscal crisis damaged sales, the company noted.
Selling, general and administrative costs came to 38.4 percent of sales, almost flat compared with last year’s 38.5 percent.
The group said it expects sales of 1.27 billion dollars and 55.6 million yen (7.7 billion yen) in net profits in the current year.
“We will take a bigger share in the U.S. market, while in China and Southeast Asia, we will be aggressive in manufacturing and sales,” said the group.
The group established a factory in Vietnam last January under its global expansion strategy in manufacturing.
At the parent operation, Wacoal Corp., based in Japan, net profits in the most recent year rose 33.2 percent to $60 million, while sales rose only 0.6 percent to $992.6 million, and operating profits dropped 1.3 percent to $76.6 million.
At the parent company, sales of foundations and lingerie, 76.5 percent of its volume, were $758.6 million, up 0.3 percent, while nightwear sales, 8.7 percent of the total, were flat at $86 million. The firm also sells outerwear and sportswear.
Dollar figures for the group and parent company are translated from the Japanese yen at current exchange.

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