LAROCHE’S OPERATING LOSSES ALMOST FLAT AT $8M FOR 1996

PARIS — Operating losses at Guy Laroche last year amounted to $8 million (45 million francs) at current exchange, holding close to 1995’s operating deficit of 44 million francs.
The results were announced by parent company Bic, the maker of ballpoint pens, disposable lighters and disposable razors.
According to Bic chairman Bruno Bich, operating losses for Laroche will shrink this year to between $3.5 million (20 million francs) and $4.4 million (25 million francs).
Sales for the fashion company last year were $45.2 million (255 million francs), down 22 percent from 1995.
Bich said in a statement that this year, sales for Laroche would drop further, to between $26.6 million (150 million francs) and $30.9 million (174 million francs). These sales decreases came mostly from the closing of operations for the Gaston Jaunet and Michel Klein sportswear businesses. Laroche did not produce a spring 1997 rtw collection.
This year, Laroche is marketing only Laroche branded ready-to-wear and accessories.
The fall 1997 luxury rtw collection created by new designer Alber Elbaz was positively received by buyers following the fashion show earlier this month.
Despite Laroche’s continued laggard performance, Bic group’s 1996 results moved ahead briskly.
The company posted a 14 percent increase in net profits to $121.3 million (684 million francs), and consolidated sales rose 6 percent to $1.13 billion (6.35 billion francs).

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