A nearly one-third increase in sales helped Innovo Group cut its first-quarter losses.

In the three months ended 24 February, the Los Angeles, California-based marketer of Joe's Jeans reported a net loss of US$173,000, or $0.00 a diluted share, versus a year-ago net loss of $3.7m, or $0.11. Excluding discontinued operations, the year-ago loss was $0.12.

Net sales were up 32.5% to $13.8m from $10.4m.

"Our first-quarter results underscore the positive progress we have made broadening the Joe's Jeans brand by continuing to increase our domestic distribution and evolving our product line," said Marc Crossman, president and chief executive officer of the firm.

"Our strong sales results coupled with a reduction in our operating expenses allowed us to dramatically improve our losses from a year ago. We are very pleased with our start to fiscal 2007 and look forward to continuing with this positive momentum across our business."

The company noted that gross profit nearly tripled, reaching $5.1m in the quarter versus $1.8m in last year's quarter. Gross margin in the Joe's Jean business bounded to 37% of sales from 29% a year ago.
By Arnold J Karr.