STILL STRUGGLING: Marks & Spencer Group plc’s profits rose 6.3 percent to $1.08 billion, or 587 million pounds, from $934.5 million, or 552.3 million pounds, in the fiscal year ended April 2, due exclusively to exceptional items. Excluding those items, profits plummeted 21 percent to $816.2 million, or 442 million pounds, from $951.5 million, or 563 million pounds, due to a drop in sales in every division except for food. The British retailer said in a statement Tuesday that sales fell 4 percent to $14.66 billion, or 7.94 billion pounds, from $14.04 billion, or 8.3 billion pounds. And business won’t be getting any easier this year. “The outlook remains challenging, with tough economic and competitive conditions expected to continue,” said Stuart Rose, chief executive of M&S. In the statement, the company said clothing sales fell 4.8 percent to $7.09 billion, or 3.84 billion pounds. M&S added that its share of the clothing market declined 0.5 percent to 10.5 percent during the period.

HATS OFF AT KELLWOOD: Kellwood Co. has signed a licensing agreement with Accessory Network Group to produce Sag Harbor career and casual hats. The line, which will bow this fall, will be designed, produced and marketed by ANG. This license is part of Kellwood’s plan to expand Sag Harbor into all major categories. Sag Harbor licenses include handbags, eyewear, footwear and slippers. ANG is a privately held accessories company that manufactures private label and branded accessories, including Ghurka, Calvin Klein and So Patricia. It also has licensing deals with entertainment companies, including the Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros. and Nickelodeon.

SHAREHOLDER DATE SET: Federated Department Stores and May Department Stores set July 13 for their shareholder meetings where the companies will seek approval on the planned merger. May shareholders will meet in New York City, at the Pierre-New York hotel, while Federated shareholders will gather at the company headquarters in Cincinnati.

This story first appeared in the May 25, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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