Accessory footwear marketer RG Barry Corporation said that its net earnings stood at US$3.8m for the quarter ended 29 September, reflecting an income tax expense of $2.1m.

In the comparable period one year ago, the company benefited from the positive impact of a lower effective tax rate, it said, reporting net earnings of $6.3m.

Net sales for the first quarter this year were $32.1m versus net sales of $35.3m in the corresponding period one year ago, the company said. It expects full-fiscal year results to be in line with previously issued guidance of a net sales increase in the range of 4-8% over net sales reported for fiscal 2007 and an increase in income from continuing operations in the range of 6-10%.

"The first quarter performance was in line with our expectations and reflects the changing face of our business," said Greg Tunney, president and chief executive officer. "We previously explained that throughout fiscal 2008 we expect to see shifts in our quarter-to-quarter net sales and earnings when compared against the company's historic patterns of performance.

"In the first quarter, our net sales decline primarily reflects three elements. The first factor was the sale of approximately $1.3m fewer closeouts, which resulted directly from better sales management and inventory control. The second factor was reduced sell-in to department stores. This channel of distribution was generally cautious in placing orders for cold weather and holiday goods based upon last year's exceptionally warm holiday selling season. And, the third element was the timing of the shipments to some of our customers.

"While we are adding more seasonal balance to our business, the Christmas selling season remains the most important period of our fiscal year. As this critical time nears, we are mindful of the uncertain environment that exists this year with many retailers. As we successfully did in 2006, we are working with our key retaining partners to ensure that we maximise our performance during the upcoming holiday selling season."