The U.S. Fila team was obviously still driving to the hoop in 2002, even as the European business fell to pieces. Fila Holding posted its first yearly operating profit in recent memory on the backs of a strengthening U.S. business and the conversion of the Australian and Brazilian subsidiaries to licensed entities.

The result was reduced inventories, reduced accounts receivable and a dramatic increase in gross profit margins that enabled the company to pay down debt.

Worldwide revenues decreased by 7% for the year to €874.7 million ($ 916.9 million). The U.S. business gained 10%, but Europe sales decreased by 19%.

Full year operating income was €20.0 million ($21 million) compared to an operating loss of €49.9 million ($52.3 million) in 2001. FLH 2002 net loss narrowed to €80.9 million ($84.8 million) compared with a €139.7 million ($146.4 million) in 2001.