FINANCIAL FLASH

Sparked by strong apparel business in the U.S., red hot Fila Holding SpA said Friday its 1995 earnings surged 47 percent to $67.2 million (99.6 billion lire), or 50 cents a share (787 lire), as overall sales ran up 43 percent to $882 million (1.4 trillion lire). Sales of Fila apparel and footwear in the U.S. rocketed 44 percent to $529.7 million, with apparel revenue alone running up 73 percent. Fila’s fourth-quarter net more than doubled to $11.7 million (18.6 billion lire) or 9 cents a share (141 lire), as sales soared 39 percent to $210 million (350.3 billion lire).

Hurt by the markdowns it took to rouse the sluggish junior market, Jalate Ltd. widened its fourth quarter loss to $2.9 million, despite a 28 percent sales surge to $18.2 million. For the year, Jalate also lost $2.9 million, versus 1994 income of $1.7 million, as sales advanced 14 percent to $78.5 million.

Handbag markdowns slowed fourth-quarter earnings growth at Kenneth Cole Productions, which netted $1.6 million, or 12 cents a share, against $1.5 million, or 11 cents. The 6.9 percent earnings uptick came on a 46 percent sales gain to $29.8 million. For 1995, earnings grew 29 percent to $9.8 million, or 72 cents a share, on a 34 percent sales increase to $114 million. For the year, same-store sales rose 13 percent; the firm has seven retail stores and seven outlet stores and plans to open about four stores in 1996.

Citing weak consumer interest in fashion jewelry, Swank Inc. reported a fourth-quarter loss of $3.3 million, versus earnings of $4.96 million, or 31 cents. Sales for the maker of jewelry, belts and leather goods fell 4.2 percent to $46.5 million. The consumer’s continuing preference for competitively priced, career-oriented items over higher-margin fashion merchandise also contributed to a loss of $8.9 million in 1995, against income of $5.6 million, or 34 cents. Sales dipped 2.4 percent to $140 million.

Zale Corp. said earnings grew 10.7 percent to $46.2 million, or $1.27 a share, as sales climbed 5.8 percent to $452 million in the second quarter ended Jan. 31. Same-store sales grew 7.4 percent. After a $1.1 million charge for early debt retirement, and $4.5 million in reorganization recoveries, for the six months Zale netted $46.3 million, or $1.31, a gain of 20 percent, as sales moved ahead 5.3 percent to $666 million. Same-store sales were up 7.1 percent in the first half.

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