This story first appeared in the November 17, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

  • BLUE MOVES: Blue Concepts LLC, a division of Commerce, Calif.-based Innovo Group Inc., the maker of Joe’s Jeans, has signed two denim licensing partnerships with designers: Los Angeles-based Henry Duarte and Rick Owens, creative director of French furrier Revillon. (Owens was previously based in Los Angeles.) Duarte Jeans will bow at Fashion Coterie in New York next February, with wholesale prices at $90 to $110. Owens Slabs will launch at Pitti Uomo in Italy in January, with a wholesale range from $100 to $120. For both deals, Owens and Duarte will design the collections, which will entail men’s, women’s and kids’ jeans; T-shirts; sweatshirts, and sweaters, while Innovo will oversee merchandising, production and sales. Paul Guez, chief executive of Blue Concepts, which makes Yanuk jeans, said, “The big picture for us is owning and developing brands.” Duarte still will design Henry Duarte and retain his two stores. Guez expects sales of both collections to total $8 million.

  • MAKING MORE ON LESS: Cost-cutting efforts helped Benetton, the Italian apparel and retail company, increase net profits in the third quarter while the sale of its sports equipment division cut into total revenue. For the period ended Sept. 30, net income rose 10.1 percent to $31.6 million from $28.1 million in the same period last year. Dollar figures are converted from the euro at current exchange as Benetton reported profits of 27 million euros versus 24 million euros in the year-ago period. Consolidated revenues, hurt by the recent sale of its sports equipment division and negative currency exchange rates, fell 10.2 percent to $483.4 million, or 413 million euros, from $538.4 million, or 460 million euros, in the same period last year. Operating profits for the third quarter also slid, declining 5.8 percent to $52.7 million, or 45 million euros, from $56.9 million, or 48 million euros. Benetton did not break out sales per region but said for the first nine months, revenue from its apparel division rose 2.6 percent. In a statement, it said that full-year sales and profits should be in line with 2002 results.
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