Liz Claiborne's ( LIZ) first-quarter profit beat analyst estimates as earnings jumped 23% and revenue grew 20%. The company cited recent acquisitions and product initiatives.

The company also provided full-year and second-quarter earnings forecasts that fall in line with analyst expectations.

Liz Claiborne earned $64 million, or 59 cents a share, in the quarter ended April 5, compared with $51 million, or 48 cents a share, in last year's quarter. Analysts were expecting 57 cents a share, on average.

"Our ability to successfully execute our multi-brand, multi-channel, multi-geography diversification strategy enabled us to achieve record sales and EPS levels," said Paul R. Charron, chief executive of New York-based women's apparel maker. "Performance in the first quarter was driven primarily by the acquisitions of Ellen Tracy and Mexx Canada, growth in our Mexx Europe business and new product initiatives in our special markets business."

Total revenue was $1.08 billion, from $893 million. The 2002 acquisitions of Ellen Tracy and Mexx Canada added about $58 million in net sales to the quarter.

In the second quarter, the company expects sales to increase 10% to 13% and EPS of 39 cents to 41 cents, excluding the impact of any future acquisitions or stock repurchases. Analysts expect 40 cents a share; the company earned 36 cents a share in the second quarter of 2002.

Looking to 2003, the company expects a sales increase of 9% to 11% and EPS of $2.49 to $2.55, which include a previously stated EPS accretion of 2 cents a share related to the company's acquisition of Juicy Couture. The company earned $2.20 a share in 2002; analysts' consensus estimate for 2003 is $2.51 a share.