Hanover brands drive improvement

Carole Sloan, June 1, 2001

NEW YORK — With the exception of Domestications, the three other brands of Hanover Brands are producing "a solid performance of EBITDA," said Thomas Shull, president and ceo.

The company is expecting a $70 million improvement in EBITDA for 2001 compared with 2000, Shull told shareholders at the annual meeting here last week. "We are on track to make a $15 million positive EBITDA in 2001, vs. a $55 million negative EBITDA in 2000."

Besides Domestications, the brands are The Company Store, Improvements and Silhouettes.

Responding to comments from shareholders, Shull, who joined the company last December, remarked: "The company got caught up in the excitement of dot-com mania and spent its resources to build traffic on the Internet. It built an infrastructure to support that goal and thought fourth-quarter business on the Internet would be stronger, and it didn't happen. At the time it represented good judgement."

Now, he emphasized, "all our resources are focused on the four brands." He added 90 percent of the turnaround efforts will be in place in the next six months. "Then we will focus on growth."

Shull also said the company had "some interest" in the company's previously announced plans to sell Gump's retail and catalog business and the International Male catalog. "We are bullish that we can bring fair market value to our shareholders."

Gump's which does more than $70 million in retail and mail order, he explained, "is an outstanding property but it is not as good a fit with our home business with the moderate to upper-moderate customer. It has terrific value, but it needs the rollout of a retail endeavor in major cities in the United States and abroad. We don't have the resources to roll out."

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