Antik Denim maker Blue Holdings said that its sales and earnings grew during the first quarter of 2006, and that it expects business to take off further during the second half of the year.

Quarterly net sales leapt 137% to US$11.9m from $5m a year ago. Net income, meanwhile, was up to $0.68m from $0.47m last year.

"We continued to make excellent progress in the first quarter. In April, our stock became listed on The NASDAQ Capital Markets under the ticker BLUE, signifying further evidence of our commitment and focus on increasing shareholder value," said chairman and CEO Paul Guez.

During the quarter, the company launched its children's business and signed a letter of intent to distribute its brands in Europe through Global Fashion Group.

"Additionally, we continued to see strong product sell-throughs, in particular from our Taverniti and Antik brands," Guez said.

The company expects 2006 net sales to be in the range of $60m to $70m, consistent with its prior outlook. The company also expects gross profit margin to remain at about 50%.

Blue Holdings designs, develops, manufactures, markets, distributes and sells high-end fashion jeans, apparel, and accessories under the Antik Denim, Yanuk, Taverniti So Jeans, and U brands.