Fine's, the young men's apparel retailer, has posted 23 per cent sale gains for the back to school months of July, August, and September.

Retail lender Paragon Capital announced today that it has extended its $3.5m line of credit to the 67-year-old Fine's for another three years. The line of credit, originally established as debtor-in-possession financing in February 1999 when the retail chain filed for Chapter 11, has been extended through October 1, 2003.

"We value our relationship with Paragon," said Mitchell Fine, the grandson of one of the original founders. "When we were going through reorganisation, what we found most helpful was Paragon's flexibility. We were going from 50 stores to 20 and we had to re-work a number of business plans, but they were always there to make sure we got the optimal level out of our operation."

Fine's said its recent success is due to a finely tuned marketing plan that targets 16- to 25-year-old youths who are looking for current trends in urban fashions. That plan paid off this August when Fine's emerged from reorganisation.

"Prior to going through reorganisation, our stores sold almost 100 per cent branded products," said Fine. "Now we're about 50 per cent branded and 50 per cent unbranded and have found that has helped us broaden our customer base."

Fine's said Paragon's new financing package would be used to solidify its current market position and, over time, open new stores.

"We couldn't be more excited with the turnaround that Fine's has been able to execute," said Andrew Moser, president and COO of Paragon Capital. "We were happy to be a part of it and look forward to watching Fine's grow."

About Paragon Capital
Paragon Capital is an asset-based lender to retailers throughout North America. Paragon has experienced dramatic growth since it was founded in 1997, completing almost $200m in new financing with companies like The Art Store, The Home Company, Golf America, Pacific Eyes & T's and Sun & Ski Sports.

About Fine's
Fine's specialises in young men's branded apparel. It carries such names as Ecko, Enyce, Phat Farm, and Roccawear. It also sells non-branded apparel. Fine's has stores in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina.