Women and children's clothing designer, Marisa Christina Inc, has posted a 5.5 per cent year-on-year climb in first quarter net income despite steep fall in sales amid the axing of an unprofitable label.

The firm reported net income of $249,000, or three cents per share, versus a net profit of $236,000, or three cents a share, last year. It added sales plunged 27.9 per cent per cent due to the loss-making label and weak economy, but gross profit as a percentage of net sales rose to 36.4 per cent from 32.7 per cent.
 
Chairman Michael Lerner commented: "Although the economy has shown a decline after the September 11 tragedy, we believe that this is a temporary situation based on our future orders.

"The fact that we are able to continue our profitability in spite of this economic slump is gratifying. Our increased gross profit percentage is the result of improved inventory management and better sourcing at the manufacturing end. We are keeping a tight control on our expenses, which also had a positive impact on net earnings."

He added: "Based on normal seasonal trends, we anticipate a second quarter loss. However, the outlook for the third and fourth quarters is excellent and we still foresee diluted earnings per share to be between $0.20 and $0.35 for the year 2002."