Signature Eyewear has been doing a little better since the beginning of its fiscal year last November, allowing the American company to reduce its debt by $193,000 and to increase its equity by $429,000 to $629,000 in the first six months of its fiscal year, ended last April 30.

Growth in three best-selling lines led to 3 percent growth in total net sales to $6.7 million for the second quarter. The net income fell to $212,000 from the $514,000 in the same period last year, but this was partly due to a tax benefit of $254,000 in the second quarter of 2007 that it did not have this year. The gross margin went down by 1.9 percentage points to 63.9 percent because of higher manufacturing expenses and a weakened dollar. Selling expenses increased by $146,000.

While bemoaning the economic slowdown that affected sales, the company praised bebe eyes, Nicole Miller Eyewear and Laura Ashley Eyewear for their strong performances. Bebe eyes' sales were up by 18.3 percent; Nicole Miller's grew by 14.9 percent; and Laura Ashley saw an increase of 37.1 percent. However, the other brands in Signature's portfolio had a sales decrease of 31.8 percent. Sales outside the USA grew by $292,000 during the quarter, said the company, without specifying the actual amount.