BERLIN — Boss Woman finally has broken into the black.

This story first appeared in the November 6, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Hugo Boss reported Wednesday that, as expected, its struggling women’s wear unit made money, generating $1.2 million in operating profits in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 against a loss of $4.6 million in the comparable 2002 period. Dollar figures are converted from the euro at current exchange as Boss reported a profit of 1 million euros against a loss of 4 million euros last year.

For the year-to-date, Boss Woman’s losses have been reduced to $1.8 million, or 1.6 million euros, from $13.1 million, or 11.4 million euros, for the first nine months of 2002.

During the third quarter, the Metzingen, Germany-based apparel firm reported that net income rose 5.5 percent to $59.5 million, or 51.7 million euros, while sales slid 6.1 percent to $406.8 million, or 353.7 million euros.

In the nine months, Boss registered a 5.7 percent increase in net income for the first nine months of the year, to $102.4 million, or 89 million euros. Group sales for the nine-month period declined 5.4 percent to $990.7 million, or 861.5 million euros, and were off 0.9 percent in local currencies. European sales dropped 3 percent to $698.1 million, or 607 million euros, with sales in the hard-pressed German market down about 7 percent. The strongest European results came from Italy, where sales rose 9 percent, and Spain, where they were ahead a robust 27 percent.

The performance keeps Boss on track to meet its 2003 target of flat currency-neutral sales with 10 percent growth in net profits, the firm said.

Results from the U.S. were hampered by the strength of the euro. Sales dipped 21 percent and were down 5 percent in local currencies.

A spokesman for Boss said that, in local currency, the firm would probably end the year with U.S. sales that were flat or slightly ahead. “The American market is stabilizing,” he said. “We don’t know what will happen in 2004, but we are quite confident about holding our own.”

In the Asia-Pacific region, turnover rose by 13 percent in euros, and 29 percent on a currency-adjusted basis.

During the year-to-date, Boss Woman’s sales grew 21 percent to $44.9 million, or 39 million euros, with growth coming from all markets, including the U.S. and Germany.

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