REFOCUSING COSTS MARISA CHRISTINA

Byline: Evan Clark

NEW YORK — With its focus now directly on its women’s business, Marisa Christina Inc. endured wider losses in the final quarter of last year to exit from its Flapdoodles children’s business.
Losses for the quarter widened to $11.1 million, or $1.43 a share, compared to year-ago losses of $6 million, or 78 cents a share. As reported, the most-recent quarter included a $7.9 million loss resulting from the sale of the Flapdoodles division. Goodwill write-offs accounted for $5.8 million of the charge.
Overall revenues for the period ended Dec. 31 decreased 28.3 percent, to $12.3 million from $17.1 million a year ago.
The cash-and-stock Flapdoodles sale generated proceeds of $4.2 million, net of transaction fees and related costs, which paid off the firm’s credit facility, leaving zero debt on its balance sheet at the end of the quarter.
Weak performances during the first three quarters of 2000 weren’t able to offset the charges for the year.
Losses widened in 2000 to $14.2 million, or $1.82 a share. This compares to year-ago losses of $8.3 million, or $1.07.
A $1 million nonrecurring charge also pulled down earnings for 2000, while a $646,000 gain on the sale of the Adrienne Vittadini division boosted the 1999 results.
Annual revenues for the firm, based here, dropped 7.2 percent, to $58 million from $62.5 million a year ago.
Michael Lerner, chairman, was optimistic despite the languid economy and noted in a statement: “The outlook for the new year is still first rate and we are anticipating earnings per share to be 50 cents to 70 cents in 2001.”
He said Marisa Christina is now focused on “devoting our resources and energy on our women’s business, which has been steadily improving.”
Sales are expected to increase as much as 15 to 20 percent during the year. The firm also will continue to work “vigorously to insure improved gross margins with competitive pricing that should result in better performance at the retail level,” said the chairman.
Marisa Christina markets better women’s apparel.

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