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Ben Sherman forecasts further sales declines

Ben Sherman reported a loss of $2.7m (£1.79m) in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 after sales declined and the business was hit by charges relating to the closure of its womenswear business

Ben Sherman, which is owned by US supply giant Oxford Industries, saw sales slip back 6% from $26.2m (£17.4m) to $24.6m (£16.3m) over the quarter.

The fourth quarter loss compared to an operating loss of $86.5m (£57.4m) last year, which included an $83.8m (£55.5m) non-cash impairment charge.

For the full fiscal 2009 year, Ben Sherman reported losses of $8.6m (£5.7m) on sales of $102.3m (£67.9m) against sales of $133.5m (£88.5m) in 2008.

Oxford Industries said it expected further sales reductions at the Ben Sherman brand in 2010, partly because of its exit from its womenswear, which cost it $700,000 (£464,738) in the fourth quarter, and its kidswear businesses. Sales are expected to decline by between 15% and 20% this year. However it said that the brand would see improved profitability over the coming year.

Oxford Industries, which also owns the Tommy Bahama and Lanier Clothing brands, saw group sales fall back from $947.5m (£628.7m) in 2008 to $800.6m (£531.2m) in 2009.

However the business made a profit of $19.7m (£13m) over the year against substantial losses of $287.2m (£190.5m) the previous year.

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