RENOWN NARROWS LOSS GAP

TOKYO — Renown Inc., the Japanese apparel giant, reported it cut its net loss in the first half ended July 31 to $42.6 million (5.2 billion yen) from 5.5 billion yen a year earlier. The firm added it expects to be back in the black in the fiscal year ending January 1999.
Sales in the first half dropped 1.4 percent to $706.8 million (86.2 billion yen). The company said the increase in the nation’s consumption tax to 5 percent from 3 percent, which took effect in April, affected sales along with unseasonable weather.
Sales of women’s apparel, however, which are 32.2 percent of sales, rose 2.1 percent to $228.8 million (27.8 billion yen).
The firm pointed out it will complete a restructuring plan within this fiscal year “in order to turn into the black next fiscal year.” It is upgrading distribution and information systems.
Renown, whose holdings including Aquasqutum of the U.K., noted that sales of Aquasqutum rose 14 percent to $123 million (15 billion yen) in the 12 months through July. Renown in Japan deals in such lines as Ellen Tracy and Ellen Tracy Company, Isaac Mizrahi and the secondary Isaac line, and J. Crew.
For the year ending Jan. 31, 1998, the firm is projecting a net loss of 17.2 million (2.1 billion yen) and sales of $1.59 billion (194 billion yen).

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