Designs Inc, operator of Levi's Outlet by Designs and Dockers Outlet by Designs stores, has announced operating results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2002 that are in line with expectations. Price reductions on inventories and the liquidation of the Bugle Boy retail chain negatively impacted the company's sales.

The company reported a net loss for the first quarter of ($1.3m), or ($0.09) per diluted share, compared with a net loss of ($0.5m), or ($0.03) per diluted share in the first quarter of the previous fiscal year.

Total sales for the thirteen weeks ended May 5, 2001 decreased 1.5 per cent to $39.4m compared to $40m for the corresponding thirteen weeks ended May 6, 2000. Comparable store sales decreased 9.9 per cent for the thirteen weeks ended May 5, 2001 when compared with the corresponding prior year period. However, during the fiscal month of April, comparable store sales increased 0.5 per cent, which represented a significant improvement from the first two months of the quarter.

During February and March, 2001 the sales were compared against prior year months which benefited from significant price reductions on inventories funded from reserves previously established in fiscal 2000. In addition, the recently completed liquidation of Bugle Boy, a 300-store retail chain selling similar categories of casual apparel, negatively impacted the company's sales.

"Our business plan for the first half of the current fiscal year anticipates lower comparable store sales and lower earnings than in the prior-year period," noted David A. Levin, president and chief executive officer of Designs Inc. "Year-to-date, Dockers sales have shown significant improvement due to our spring merchandising initiatives, but we have experienced inventory deficiencies within certain categories of the Levi's brand which will be significantly improved upon with new inventory deliveries in time for the key back-to-school selling season. Therefore, we are anticipating positive comparable store sales occurring in the third and fourth quarters".