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Jones Apparel profit jumps


New York City Jones Apparel Group said Wednesday that its first-quarter profit surged to $37.5 million from $300,000 a year earlier. Its results beat Wall Street expectations.

Total revenue fell to $887.3 million from $891.1 million.

"Sales for the first quarter exceeded expectations and operating margins increased in all segments compared with the prior year's quarter,” said chief executive Wesley Card. “Jeanswear margins were exceptionally strong, which is reflective of the group's execution and aggressive inventory management. Better Apparel and Footwear and Accessories were also strong performers, driven by higher gross margins.”

Jones closed 63 retail locations this quarter, giving it a total of 877 locations. As previously announced, the company, whose brands include Nine West, is on track to close an additional 110 unprofitable locations by year-end.

Looking ahead, Card stated: "On a macroeconomic level, we are encouraged by rising consumer confidence and positive retail trends. While we believe these trends should continue, the economic environment remains unclear and consumer spending is unpredictable. We will continue to position our core brands for growth and fill the white space in our portfolio with selected acquisitions and growth initiatives."

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