NEW YORK — Pumped up by sales from its Marithe & Francois Girbaud license, I.C. Isaacs & Co. posted a modest first-quarter profit on a nearly double-digit sales increase.
The Baltimore-based jeanswear and sportswear company registered net earnings of $117,000, or 2 cents per share, during the quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of $2.9 million, or 42 cents, in the year-ago quarter.
Sales advanced 9.5 percent to $24.7 million from $22.5 million in the 1999 quarter.
Sales of Girbaud sportswear more than quadrupled to $15 million from $3.4 million in the year-ago quarter.
Sales of the Girbaud women’s line accounted for $2.6 million of this total versus $200,000 in the 1999 period.
The company said that the strength of its Girbaud franchise helped to expand its backlog at the end of the quarter 57 percent, to $36 million from $23 million at the conclusion of the 1999 quarter.
Gross profit increased 24 percent, to $8.3 million from $6.7 million. Gross margin advanced to 33.5 percent from 29.6 percent.
Robert Arnot, chairman and chief executive, said in a statement that current trends in Isaacs’ business indicate that the company is “on track” to post a profit for the full year.
“While we expect to report a loss for the second quarter, we anticipate that it will be substantially smaller than the second-quarter loss last year,” he said.
“Historically, and consistent with the industry, our second and fourth quarters are the weakest.
“Looking ahead, it is our expectation that continued strong growth of Girbaud sales will enable us to report a profit for the third quarter that will more than offset the second-quarter loss.”
Isaacs had net losses of $10.2 million last year and $16.8 million the year before. Arnot established goals of first-quarter and full-year profitability at the conclusion of 1999.
The company also reported that its new Urban Expedition collection had sales of $633,000 during the quarter.
Sales declined for Boss Products, to $4.1 million from $12.1 million in the prior- year quarter, and Beverly Hills Polo Club, to $3.6 million from $4.2 million.
Shares of I.C. Isaacs on Tuesday closed down 3/32 at 2 1/8.