IN THE MIDDLE

STILL NEGOTIATING: Donnkenny, a maker of moderately priced women’s sportswear, said late last month it was unable to file its annual report because it has not yet been able to complete negotiations with its lenders.
Donnkenny was unable to file its report for the year ended Dec. 31 because it is asking its lenders to amend and waive some noncompliance provisions in its credit agreement, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Donnkenny has a $75 million agreement led by CIT Group/Commercial Services.
Daniel Levy, Donnkenny chairman and chief executive, said he was optimistic the two parties would complete their negotiations within the next 10 days. Donnkenny was in violation of the agreement last year, also, but those violations were waived in an earlier amendment.

SOARING PROFITS: Profits at Braun’s Fashions Corp. soared 167 percent in the fourth quarter and 85.2 percent in the year ended Feb. 26.
The women’s apparel chain, based in Minneapolis, earned $5.3 million or 78 cents a share in the three months, up from $1.97 million or 30 cents a year ago. Sales jumped 44 percent to $45.2 million.
Bill Prange, chairman and chief executive, said fourth-quarter results “significantly exceeded” internal expectations, driven by “exceptional sell-throughs at regular prices.” Gross margins in the quarter rose to 44.1 percent from 35 percent while same-store sales ran up 26 percent.
The year’s profits climbed to $11.5 million or $1.75 a share, from $6.2 million or 91 cents a year ago. Sales gained 30.2 percent to $143.4 million, and rose 17 percent on a same-store basis.
Braun’s Fashions last year opened 33 new stores under the nameplate Christopher & Banks, its core private label brand. It also converted 23 existing Braun’s locations to Christopher & Banks, and plans to open 35 Christopher & Banks units this year. At yearend, 56 of its 223 stores were Christopher & Banks. This fall, the company will launch a new store concept, C.J. Banks, targeting the women’s large-size market.