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Hartmarx to perform better in second half
28
Mar '08
Hartmarx Corporation reported operating results for its first quarter ended February 29, 2008. Sales were $119.1 million in 2008 compared to $120.0 million in 2007. The net loss was $3.5 million or $.10 per diluted share in 2008 compared to a net loss of $3.4 million or $.09 per diluted share in 2007.

Homi B. Patel, chairman and chief executive officer of Hartmarx Corporation, commented, "Our first quarter results were in line with our most recent guidance and reflect the very difficult retail climate and current negative consumer sentiments that we had correctly anticipated.

The benefits from the specific actions taken at the end of last year to reduce our moderate priced tailored clothing lines are gradually taking hold and we anticipate a return to profitability in the second quarter, with expected diluted earnings per share in the range of $.05 - $.08 on sales in the range of $125 - $135 million. Favorable comparisons to the prior year are anticipated to commence in the second half of the year.

Despite the difficult first half outlook, we continue to expect that various macro-economic actions including personal income tax refunds and the significant lowering of interest rates will have a positive impact on consumer sentiment and we anticipate an earnings recovery for the full year of 2008 compared to 2007.

Nonetheless, in light of the current uncertainty and the notable slowdown in consumer spending, we believe it is prudent for us to reduce our full-year diluted earnings per share guidance to $.20 - $.35, from $.30 - $.40 previously, with full-year revenues estimated in the $565 - $590 million range, compared to our previous guidance of revenues in the $580 - $600 million range. The unusually large range in guidance is a reflection of the uncertainty in general economic conditions for the balance of the year.

Mr. Patel continued, "Our emphasis currently is on all areas that are controllable, most particularly, inventory and expenses. In that regard, inventories were down $13 million from a year ago and operating expenses were slightly lower.

The Monarchy product lines, acquired in August, 2007, contributed $3.6 million to this year's first quarter revenues. Tailored clothing and sportswear revenues at the luxury and better price points are close to previous year levels.

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