Tommy Hilfiger Ratings on CreditWatch Negative

The apparel company may face materially lower revenue and earnings below its previously disclosed estimates for the second half of fiscal 2004

On Nov. 17, 2003, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services placed its 'BBB-' corporate credit and senior unsecured debt ratings, as well as its preliminary 'BBB-' shelf registration rating, on Tommy Hilfiger, U.S.A. (TOM ) on CreditWatch with negative implications. Approximately $351 million in long-term debt was outstanding at the company as of September 2003.

The CreditWatch listing follows Tommy Hilfiger's announcement that it is in discussions with Dillard's Inc. about the level of Tommy Hilfiger's sales to Dillard's in the future. Dillard's was the largest customer with about $240 million in revenues, which accounted for 13% of Tommy Hilfiger's fiscal 2003 consolidated annual sales. The company also stated that the outcome of these discussions could materially reduce revenue and net earnings below its previously disclosed estimates for the second half of fiscal 2004.

While there are no immediate liquidity issues as the company continues to maintain significant cash balances on hand and there are no near-term debt maturities, Standard & Poor's will continue to monitor events and meet with management shortly to discuss Tommy Hilfiger's business strategies and financial policies. In resolving the CreditWatch listing, Standard & Poor's will also review the company's fundamental business position and its acquisition strategy.

Tommy Hilfiger produces men's and women's sportswear, jeanswear, and childrenswear, and distributes its products primarily through department stores and their own retail outlets. The company competes mainly in the full-priced sector of the apparel industry.

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