The Escada Group, has returned to profitability in fiscal 2003-04, ended October 31, in line with its stated objectives, despite the continued weakness of the market for women's luxury fashion. The Group announced preliminary earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of EUR 47.4 million, compared to EUR 8.4 million last year. Of this total, EUR 35.6 million (previous year: EUR 15.1 million) was contributed by the ESCADA brand, EUR 13.3 million (previous year: EUR -4.6 million) by PRIMERA Group and EUR -1.5 million (previous year: EUR -2.1) by Badgley Mischka, which was sold in October 2004.
The Group showed a consolidated after-tax profit before minorities of EUR 4.5 million, compared to the prior year's loss of EUR 77.6 million. The main source of this substantial improvement in consolidated earnings was the successfully implemented program to cut structural costs. With savings of almost EUR 45 million, the program outperformed its EUR 40 million target for the year.
Consolidated sales for 2003/2004 reached EUR 625.5 million, a 0.8 percent gain over the prior year's EUR 620.8 million. After adjustments for changes in foreign-exchange rates, growth was 3.5 percent.
For the current fiscal year 2004-05, management expects all key-figures to improve significantly despite sustained weakness in the market for women's luxury fashion, thanks to the Group's new, leaner platform and measures being taken for product growth and geographical expansion. Management projects, in the absence of unforeseen events, that Group revenues will increase in Euro during fiscal year 2004-05, that Group EBITDA will grow significantly, and that there will be disproportionate improvement in consolidated after-tax profit.