Tommy Hilfiger Corp is to close 37 of its 44 US specialty stores at the end of the Holiday selling season the company announced today.

Chief executive officer Joel Horowitz said in a statement that the stores "have not met anticipated performance measures and we now believe that a better use of our management and investment resources is to meet the needs of our US core businesses and to pursue our growth opportunities in Europe." He said the remaining seven stores will be used as "vehicles for developing the exclusive product line."

Revenue from the 37 stores slated for closing amounted to $7.7 million and $15.8 million for the second quarter and six month periods, respectively, ended 30 September 2002. Operating losses were $4.0 million and $7.2 million.

However, despite soft sales in a difficult economy, the Hong Kong-based apparel designer and retailer reported a second quarter net income of $61 million, an increase of 27.3 per cent on last year's $47.9 million. Net revenue was roughly flat at $546.5 million.

Mr Horowitz said the results were ahead of expectations because of the continued strong performance of Tommy Hilfiger Europe.

Wholesale revenue was 2.9 per cent below last year's levels, with the biggest declines in men's wear and children's wear. Retail revenue increased 10.8 per cent on new store openings.

In a separate announcement, the company named senior vice president and treasurer Joseph Scirocco, to the additional post of chief financial officer. He is replacing Joel Newman as CFO.

James P Reilly, currently senior vice president and corporate controller at Tommy Hilfiger USA, has also been named to the new position of vice president and corporate controller of Tommy Hilfiger Corporation.