IN THE MIDDLE

BACK IN THE BLACK: After a $26,000 tax charge, Jay Jacobs, a moderate price department store, reported a second-quarter profit of $39,000, or 1 cent a share, versus a year-ago loss of $653,000.
Sales for the three months ended Aug. 2 fell 5 percent to $15.6 million from $16.5 million, but same-store sales surged 13 percent.
“Sales for the current month remain strong, and we are very encouraged by this trend,” said Rex Steffey, president and chief executive officer, in a statement. Jay Jacobs operates 114 stores; it had 135 last year. “We are continuing our pursuit of outside sources of working capital and believe that our recent performance enhances our ability to achieve this goal.”

CHARMING’S UPSWING: Aided by fatter gross margins, Charming Shoppes Inc. notched substantially improved earnings in the second quarter and six months ended Aug. 2.
The operator of the Fashion Bug chains earned $6.9 million, or 6 cents, versus $304,000, or less than 1 cent. Sales slid 0.4 percent to $265.7 million from $266.7 million, but same-store sales rose 3 percent. Gross margin grew to 25.8 percent from 23.3 percent.
Another women’s chain, Deb Shops Inc., shaved its second-quarter loss to $272,547 from $3.6 million a year ago. Sales for the three months ended July 31 gained 6.9 percent to $92.5 million from $86.5 million.

U.S. EXPEDITION: A group of 10 British moderate-to-better private label knitwear firms are out to tap into the U.S. market and will embark on a trade mission in New York. The mission, which is set for Sept. 15-17, is being organized by the British Knitting & Clothing Export Council, with the support of Great Britain’s Department of Trade and Industry.
The private label knitwear firms that will be represented are Belinda Robertson, Edinburgh, Scotland; Birchgill Ltd., Leeds, England; Clement & Co. Ltd., London; Envy Designs Ltd., London;, Judy French, Kent, England; Locharron of Scotland, Galashiels, Scotland; Scott & Charters Ltd., Hawick, Scotland; Straven, Derbyshire, England; Thurston Trading Ltd., Berkshire, England, and M. Waldman Ltd., London.
In a statement, Alison Ledgerwood, mission leader for the export council, noted a “strong demand for British contract production in the U.S.”

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