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Oxford Industries reports small growth

Oxford Industries, the US supply group which owns Ben Sherman, reported a 0.5% increase in consolidated net sales of $217.8m (£150.5m) up from $216.7m (£149.8m) for the first quarter ended May 1.

Ben Sherman reported net sales of US$22.2m (£15.3m), compared to $24.2m (£16.7m) in the same period in 2009.

Oxford Industries said the fall in sales was due to the exit and subsequent licensing of the footwear and kids’ businesses and the closure of the British brand’s womenswear collection. Ben Sherman posted operating income of $0.5m (£0.34m) in the first quarter compared to an operating loss of $2m (£1.4m) the year before.

The company said it expected total group sales for the second quarter to the end of July 31 to range from $175m (£121m) to $185m (£128m).

Chairman and chief executive officer of Oxford Industries J. Hicks Lanier, said: “Our first quarter results are solid by any measure. Increased consumer demand at both our own stores and those of our wholesale customers drove stronger than expected sales. In our retail stores, we achieved healthy comparable store sales.”

“On the wholesale side, our customers had initially booked Spring 2010 very conservatively and finished 2009 with very lean inventories. As they began to experience positive sales trends during holiday 2009 and the early part of this year, many of them scrambled to try to re-build inventories to what we believe are more normalized levels. We did everything we could to service these customers and, as a result, some sales originally planned for our second quarter shipped in the first quarter,” he added.

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