EXCEEDING ESTIMATES: Russell Corp. said it anticipates earnings for the second quarter ended July 4 to exceed analysts’ expectations. It predicts ongoing second-quarter earnings will be in the range of 20 cents to 22 cents a share, considerably higher than the current consensus estimate of 15 cents a share, management said in a statement. The revised outlook is based on the unexpected cost savings from Russell Corps’ “operational improvement program,” enhanced manufacturing from increased volume and the selling of its interest in Marmot Mountain Ltd. The selling of this investment, which the company held since October 2001, will give Russell Corp. a one-time second-quarter gain of 8.5 cents a share. Profits from this sale will be reinvested into special one-time projects or activities this year that can positively impact the company. Including this one-time gain, second-quarter earnings are expected to be in the range of 28 cents to 30 cents a share.
BAHAMA BAGS: Island-lifestyle brand Tommy Bahama will introduce a collection of handbags and small leather goods for spring 2005 retailing. The brand, a division of Viewpoint International, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oxford Industries Inc., signed a licensing agreement with holding and management firm Accessory Design Holdings Inc., which also owns the Isabella Fiore and Talbery brands. The line will include handbags, totes and travel bags that will wholesale from $55 to $135 and small leather goods priced from $20 to $50 wholesale.
BID BATTLE: Cole National Corp. said its board of directors would be reviewing a takeover bid from Moulin International Holdings for $451 million, which could delay a shareholder vote on a prior $401 million bid from Luxottica Group SpA. In a separate statement, Luxottica said it was informed of the nonbinding bid, and that it “has not deemed it necessary to take any action” regarding the proposal. Luxottica said “under the terms of the Luxottica Group-Cole National merger agreement, Cole National’s board of directors cannot withdraw its recommendation of the Luxottica Group merger unless it first gives Luxottica Group three business days within which Luxottica Group may revise or modify the terms of the merger.”