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Jones Says Fast’s Offer Best for Barneys

As Jones reports second-quarter loss, Fast Retailing's $900 Million offer is deemed superior to Istithmar's, but Dubai-based group has three days to counter.

Jones Apparel Group, which on Wednesday posted a second-quarter loss, said its board of directors has deemed Japan-based Fast Retailing’s $900 million cash offer for Barneys New York to be superior to an earlier bid from Dubai-based Istithmar.

The apparel giant said Tuesday that it received the offer from Fast Retailing, which is not contingent on due diligence and can be closed on in an expedited manner. Jones said Wednesday that it has notified Istithmar of its intent to accept Fast Retailing’s bid, and that Istithmar has three days from Aug. 1 to match the Japanese retailer’s offer.

Jones said separately that for the quarter ended July 7, the loss was $47.1 million, or 44 cents a diluted share, against income of $36.6 million, or 32 cents, in the year-ago period. Total revenues fell 2.2 percent to $903.9 million from $923.9 million, which includes a sales decline of 1.7 percent to $894.5 million from $909.6 million.

Wes Card, newly named president and chief executive officer, said in phone interview, “My first order is to develop a good strong plan for 2008 that we can execute against. We need to show the shareholder more consistency.”

He added in a statement announcing earnings that several of the company’s brands performed well during the quarter, but that the “negative sales trend, however, in the overall retail environment in the second quarter heavily impacted our results.”

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