The Brazilian group, which went public last year, saw its total sales decline by 10 percent in the 1st quarter ended March 31 to 249 million reals (€79m-$101m), with a steep 41 percent drop in exports to R$56 million (€17.8m-$22.7m).

The adjusted gross margins was down to 37.2 percent from 40.6 percent, in spite of stable raw material costs. The operating margin before amortization and depreciation (Ebitda) declined to 20.1 percent from 30.1 percent, and the net margin was off to 15.0 percent from 22.6 percent.

Grendene blames a further 8 percent drop in the value of the US dollar against the real and its decision to keep distribution of its Melissa line selective for the export slump, which entailed a 22.3 percent fall in volume to 8.9 million pairs. Sales in Europe fell by R$13 million (€4.1m-$5.3m) because heavy rains last summer have caused European retailers to retain high inventories.

The company has appointed Marcus Peixoto as chief financial officer, in charge also of investor relations. He replaces Gelson Rostirolla, who becomes chief administrative officer and controller.