Byline: Courtney Colavita

MILAN — Bolstered by its majority stake in Hugo Boss, Italian clothing and textile company Marzotto Group reported that preliminary net profits rose 56 percent, to slightly less than $60 million in 2000.
Dollar figures are converted from the euro at the current exchange rates.
The Veneto, Italy-based company registered consolidated net sales of $1.5 billion, up 15 percent from the previous year. Exports accounted for 80 percent of all sales, nudging ahead 3 percent from 1999.
While all divisions reported an increase, a company statement credited the sales spike mainly to its subsidiary Hugo Boss AG, and its yarn mill Lanificio. Marzotto added that the German men’s and women’s clothing manufacturer exceeded second-quarter sales forecasts.
The group’s operating income rose 34 percent, to $193.6 million, or 12.9 percent of sales.
Marzotto produces licensed collections for Gianfranco Ferre and Missoni, and has been concentrating on promoting its own lines: Marlboro Classics, Lebole and Borgofiori.
“We want to open more direct points-of-sale in Europe and Asia, especially for our growing Marlboro Classics line,” said Innocenza Cipolletta, president of Marzotto.
The sporty Marlboro Classics line is the second-highest generator of revenues for the group — next to Hugo Boss. Cipolletta said he expected sales of Marlboro Classics to triple within the next three to four years.
For the upcoming year, the company said it would continue its strategy of moving textile facilities outside of Italy to cut high production costs.
The company presently owns plants in Lithuania, Germany, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, the Czech Republic and the U.S. Cipolletta said that by 2002, the company would produce one-third of all its fabrics and 70 percent of its carded yarns outside of Italy.