KASPER REPORTS NET PLUNGE, CITES ANNE KLEIN COSTS

NEW YORK — Pre-launch costs for the Anne Klein 2 product line pushed down Kasper ASL’s quarterly profits to about one-third their 1999 level.
The Secaucus, N.J., manufacturer and marketer of women’s suits and sportswear posted net income of $1.7 million, or 24 cents per share, during the first quarter ended April 1, down 67.9 percent from the 1999 quarter’s $5.1 million, or 76 cents.
Revenues were up 12.8 percent to $111.2 million from $98.5 million. Net sales grew 9.5 percent to $107.6 million and royalty income exploded to $3.6 million from $231,000.
In a statement, Arthur Levine, chairman and chief executive, noted increases in sales and royalties, and gross margins, to 33.8 percent from 32.7 percent a year ago.
“However, the substantial investments required to design and develop the new Anne Klein 2 product line, which will not start shipping until fall 2000, negatively affected our bottom-line results,” Levine pointed out. “The new product line is on track, and the positive reception from our retail customers has made the new launch a complete success.”
Growth in royalty income was primarily attributable to Kasper’s acquisition of Anne Klein and its trademarks in March 1999.
“Overall, our retail customers are extremely receptive to our product offerings in our core Kasper and Anne Klein business,” said Gregg Marks, president. “Our core brands are experiencing a stronger sell-through at retail than last year.”
In addition to Kasper and Anne Klein, Kasper produces and markets women’s suits and sportswear under the A Line Anne Klein, LeSuit and Albert Nipon labels. It licenses its own name, Anne Klein and Nipon.