Hampshire credits turnaround strategy for q3 performance

by Harry Sheff

NEW YORK—Hampshire Group released its third quarter earnings this week, narrowing its loss and reporting a net sales increase of 8.4 percent. The loss from continuing operations before taxes fell to $1.4 million from $3.2 million in the previous year’s third quarter. Net sales were up to $36.3 million compared to last year’s Q3 sales of $33.5 million. The $5.7 million sales increase at Hampshire’s Rio Garment business was offset by a $3 million drop in the JOE Joseph Abboud business, which Hampshire is exiting. Rio Garment, the Honduras-based knitwear manufacturer, was acquired last year.

Hampshire CEO Heath Golden says he’s confident that his turnaround strategy is working, and that third-quarter numbers show where future growth will be. “You’re seeing our sales increase, margin growth and backlog increase—all the result of the strategies we’ve been implementing over the last year or so,” Golden told MR. “We’re winding down the JOE Joseph Abboud business at JCPenney and the Geoffrey Beene sweater business at the same time we’re ramping up the Dockers tops and Panama Jack businesses. We’re not yet seeing the full benefit of our transformation.”

Golden also commented on Hampshire’s Scott James business. “In the month of September alone we opened our Mr. Sid shop-in-shop in Newton, Mass. and one in Shaia’s in Birmingham, Ala., re-launched the Scott James website and opened our own store on Boston’s Newbury Street. We also launched Scott James in Canada through Trimera, so Scott James had a busy quarter-end.”

Hampshire Group, a manufacturer specializing in the sweater, woven and knit categories, serves retailers like JCPenney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Belk and Aeropostale and operates the specialty retailer Scott James.