Fashion company Crocodile Garments posted a net loss of HK$58 million for the year ending July 2003, down from a net profit of HK$20m in the year prior.

The company, a subsidiary of Lai Sun Garment, also saw turnover plummet 19 per cent year-on-year to HK$484m, as compared to HK$595m in 2001-2002.

"The weak local economy and the outbreak of Sars in early 2003 had brought about a significant drop in inbound tourists' arrivals and the demoralisation of local consumer sentiment," a Crocodile spokesperson said.

Late last month, a Chinese court ruled that Crocodile Garments would have to change its logo by April 2006 after a long-running dispute with French label Lacoste, which uses a crocodile logo similar to that of the Hong Kong company.

Crocodile says its new trademark will be launched in autumn 2004, which it claims will "help consolidate our market share in the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau."

Lacoste is now locked in a legal battle with Singaporean brand Cartelo International over a similar dispute.