ALPINE SLIDE: Citing inventory write-downs, a slump in the general snowboard business and restructuring costs, French ski firm Rossignol SA last week reported a full-year net loss of 25 million euros, or $31.6 million, in the year ended March 31, compared with a profit of 7.2 million euros, or $8.5 million, in the previous year. Currency conversions were made at average exchange rates for the two periods. As reported, Rossignol, which inked a deal to be acquired by Quiksilver Inc. last March, said sales were down 0.3 percent to 477.4 million euros, or $601.2 million. At constant exchange, Rossignol’s sales would have increased 2.4 percent. The company’s ski brands include Rossignol and Dynastar. Quiksilver’s initial public offering of Ski Rossignol’s shares started June 6 for 19 euros, or $22.80, per share, and will continue through July 8.
SHOPPING HABITS: Frugal French shoppers will nevertheless need to increase their closet space. According to a new report by the French ready-to-wear federation, French shoppers spent 10.6 billion euros, or $12.72 billion, on apparel in 2004, down 0.4 percent from the year-earlier period. Still, the numbers of items purchased rose 4.2 percent to 408.2 million items. Girls between the ages of 13 and 18 were the most serious shopping addicts, representing 23.5 percent of total rtw purchases with an average budget of 578 euros, or $693.6 million. The federation credited a rising number of items purchased on sale and apparel imported from China for the increase in unit sales.