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Shortfall Wrinkles Jones Apparel

The company cuts guidance amid a weak performance at its retail chains.
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Jones Apparel

(JNY)

posted lower-than-expected first-quarter earnings Wednesday and cut its full-year earnings outlook, noting a weak performance at its retail chains.

The clothing and shoe company also said it is seeking to exit some of its moderate product lines by the end of the year. Shares were down 47 cents, or 1.3%, to $31.95.

The owner of brands and stores such as Jones New York, Nine West and Barneys New York reported earnings of $47.8 million, or 44 cents a share. That was up from the profit of $25.8 million, or 22 cents a share, a year ago, but when taking into account one-time items in both periods, profits fell.

Excluding restructuring-related charges and other items, first-quarter adjusted earnings fell to 50 cents a share from 60 cents a year earlier. The per-share earnings on this basis missed analysts' mean estimate by a dime, according to Thomson First Call.

Revenue rose to $1.25 billion from $1.22 billion, narrowly beating Wall Street's target of $1.22 billion.

"We were pleased with first quarter results in our wholesale better apparel, footwear and accessories segments, our denim and junior businesses and with the performance of our Barney's luxury retail chain, which registered a comparable store sales increase of 10.1%," said Peter Boneparth, president and chief executive. "However, results were disappointing in our company-owned retail chains."

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Jones' retail same-store sales fell 5% for the period, driven by a 12.3% decline at its footwear outlet stores.

The company said that selling certain product lines, which it didn't name, will help it strengthen its operating metrics and allow it to focus on its wholesale business, which operates at higher margins. Jones said the product lines would represent about $300 million in revenue for 2007.

For the full year, Jones expects earnings of $1.95 to $2.05 a share, before items. The projection is down from its prior view of $2.41 a share, and also falls below 2006 adjusted earnings of $2.19.

"This guidance reflects a cautious forecast for our company-owned retail and outlet stores based on current trends and the potential operating impact of exiting the moderate product lines," the company said.

The company's weak results come a day after fellow clothing giant

Liz Claiborne

(LIZ)

reported a big earnings shortfall and warned of a difficult 2007. Shares of Liz Claiborne sank 17% Tuesday.