SIRENA LOSS REDUCED IN QUARTER

LOS ANGELES — Including $1.3 million in special charges, Sirena Apparel Group narrowed its fourth-quarter loss to $2.2 million from $5.7 million a year ago.
Charges in the latest period include costs related to the abandonment of a consulting agreement with a former director of the company, effective June 30; writedown of raw material inventories, and a decision to write off the expense of start-up design costs related to the new Liz Claiborne swimwear collection.
Douglas Arbetman, president and chief executive officer, noted in a statement that the company determined the charges to operations were “prudent in light of the company’s efforts to complete the execution of its profit recovery plan.”
Sales for the three months ended June 30, however, leaped 43.7 percent to $16.3 million from $11.3 million. For the year, including the charges, Sirena narrowed its loss to $1.98 million from $4.4 million last year. Sales were off 11.1 percent to $43.7 million from $49.2 million.
“Despite the special and nonrecurring charges to operations, our fiscal 1997 performance reflects improvement over the prior year in terms of margin, reduced operating loss, lower overhead and inventory, as well as improved retail performance,” Arbetman said.
He noted that the firm is entering fiscal 1998 with the launch of the Liz Claiborne swimwear line and with overhead and inventory levels improved and strategically positioned to boost operating performance.
In addition to the Liz Claiborne line, Sirena also manufactures under the Anne Klein, Hot Water, WearAbouts and Sirena Kids labels. It’s private label business includes value-priced swimwear and resortwear.

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