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Animal Activists Celebrate A Fall In Evans Fur Profits

July 25, 1989

CHICAGO (AP) _ Dozens of people protested at the annual stockholder meeting of one of the world’s largest furriers Tuesday, saying the animal rights movement is making furs ″look unfashionable and stupid.″

The protesters gathered at the annual meeting of Evans Inc., waving signs with pictures of wounded animals and slogans such as ″Buy a fur and slip into something dead.″

Evans company policy is not to comment on such protests, but Randall Barberis, vice president of marketing, said the animal rights movement has had no effect on business.

Evans reported a loss of $3.8 million in fiscal 1989 on sales of $148 million and the industry has seen two straight off years.

An analyst attributed the performance to mild winters that lowered demand and lower pelt prices, which reduced the cost of furs to consumers.

Evans earlier this month reported a first-quarter loss for fiscal 1990 of $2.28 million, on sales of $16.5 million, compared with a loss of $2.32 million on sales of $14.7 million in the same quarter a year ago.

″I think the fur industry is drying up,″ said a woman who called herself Mink Stole and said she was an actress and member of the Washington-base d People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

″We are making fur look unfashionable and stupid,″ the woman said. ″Fur caters to vanity, so if we hurt vanity people won’t buy it.″

But an analyst disputed the effects of the animal rights movement on the industry’s performance.

″It is impossible to quantify any effect that any anti-fur movement has had,″ said Linda Baker, an analyst with Prudential-Bache Securities in New York.

″The anti-fur movement has become fairly visible, but also the retailers have recognized that and the fur industry, which is traditionally very fragmented, has organized to neutralize the anti-fur movement with education.″

This year actually should be a good year for consumers who want to buy a fur, because pelt prices have declined slightly again, meaning the price of a finished fur product should be lower, Ms. Baker said.

Evans also sees a better year ahead, Barberis said.

″I think it is fair to say that, because of those reasons, the last couple of years have been tough in selling furs, but we think that there is every reason to be optimistic in coming years in terms of selling furs to consumers,″ he said.

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