Russell Corp exceeds analysts' expectations

New Bike Athletic and Jagged Edge owner Russell Corporation (NYSE: RML) has announced fiscal 2002 fourth quarter results of $.45 per share, which exceeded the First Call consensus estimate of $.43 per share for the quarter.
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New Bike Athletic and Jagged Edge owner Russell Corporation (NYSE: RML) has announced fiscal 2002 fourth quarter results of $.45 per share, which exceeded the First Call consensus estimate of $.43 per share for the quarter. Net income for the 2002 fourth quarter was $14.5 million, or $.45 per share, versus a net loss of $30.8 million, or ($.96) per share, in the comparable period last year.

"We are pleased to have exceeded analysts' EPS expectations for the fourth quarter, especially in this challenging economic environment," said Jack Ward, chairman and CEO.

The company also improved its gross margins to 29.9 percent from 26.4 percent, it says due to continued sourcing and manufacturing improvements, as well as increased volumes and a better product mix. Net sales for the 2002 fourth quarter were $308.4 million, a decrease of $6.4 million, or 2.0 percent from last year's fourth quarter sales of $314.8 million. After excluding sales from businesses that were acquired or discontinued during the last 12 months, net sales on an ongoing basis increased 1 percent over last year's fourth quarter performance.

SNEWS View: Russell Corp., long known for the gym sweats that we all owned as kids, has begun to shakeup its image, adding several trendier brands to its cadre, including women's athletic brand Moving Comfort in August, technical outdoor company Jagged Edge in late December, and bankrupt Bike Athletic in late January. We suspect these aren't the last of the acquisitions that will surface in coming months as Russell tries to parlay its brand name into an image that is more hip.

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