By  on April 26, 2006

NEW YORK — Shares of Jones Apparel Group rose Wednesday following the company’s first-quarter report in which it beat Wall Street’s expectations by 13 cents, even though profits fell by 70 percent.

For the three months ended April 1, income fell to $25.8 million, or 21 cents a diluted share, from $87 million, or 71 cents, in the same year-ago quarter. Excluding the loss from its Polo Jeans Co. sale and other one-time charges, the company earned 66 cents a share, or 13 cents better than analysts’ consensus estimate of 53 cents. Revenues for the quarter dropped by 9.9 percent to $1.22 billion from $1.35 billion, which included a sales decline of 10.1 percent to $1.20 billion from $1.34 billion.

“Our first quarter results were stronger than we had anticipated. The better than expected results were primarily realized in our better wholesale apparel businesses, which benefited from improved gross margins and lower operating expenses versus the year ago period,” said Peter Boneparth, president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

Shares of Jones in mid-day trading on the New York Stock Exchange was at $34.78, up 2.17 percent, or 74 cents.

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