We grow our owned retail business in Europe, where our topline performance was stronger than we had anticipated, as comp store headwinds were less severe that we had planned. As expected, sales in our wholesale business were down compared to last year, as the impacts of the weak economy, particularly in Italy and France impacted our shipments.
In Asia, we effectively met our earnings expectations for the quarter tough on slightly lower revenues than we had planned. Our business in Korea was softer than we had expected, with a more competitive marketplace and with cooler temperatures that were not conducive to our assortment. Comp trends in Korea were negative at the beginning of the quarter but we saw significant improvement in April. In the quarter our China business exceeded our plans offsetting some of the softness in Korea, and we continue to be encouraged by the opportunity in this market.
Finally, our licensees, they faced many of the same economic challenges as we did. They experienced a stronger quarter than we had anticipated with royalty that grew slightly in the quarter. While it’s only been a couple of months since we last spoke, our major priorities for this remain unchanged. We made excellent progress during the first quarter.
One of our primary areas of focus for this year is expanding our marketing efforts to drive traffic, acquire new customers and support our brand positioning. We are working especially hard on our men and accessories categories to match last year’s improvements in women’s. We plan to deliver a consistent message across all channels and support that with clearly defined product stories that reinforce our fashion authority.We are putting those key items into our windows, onto our [drive isles], onto our homepage, as well as external marketing. We also want to reinforce Guess? as the denim authority and plan to introduce new launches in fits and provide an even higher level of service in this critical category. CRM remains another top priority with continued emphasis on customer segmentation and loyalty building. We plan to invest more in social media and digital advertising this year, including collaborations with bloggers and entertainment personalities. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com
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