By  on October 25, 2006

NEW YORK — Jones Apparel Group on Thursday posted a decline in third-quarter profit attributable in part to the sale of Polo Jeans Co., but the apparel firm is still raising its dividend to shareholders by 16.7 percent.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, income fell 18 percent to $63 million, or 56 cents a share, from $76.8 million, or 65 cents a share, in the same year-ago quarter. Adjusted earnings per share, excluding the impact of severance charges and strategic initiative costs, was 63 cents versus 76 cents a year ago. The adjusted EPS for the quarter was 3 cents below the consensus of Wall Street estimates. Revenues were down by 6.5 percent to $1.24 billion from $1.33 billion, or $1.25 billion a year ago excluding sales from the Polo Jeans division. Revenues included a 6.9 percent drop in sales to $1.22 billion from $1.31 billion.

For the nine months, income dropped 42.6 percent to $125.5 million, $1.10 cents a diluted share, from $218.6 million, or $1.82, in the same year-ago period. Revenues declined by 8.4 percent to $3.53 billion from $3.85 billion.

The Jones board approved a 16.7 percent increase in the quarterly cash dividend to 14 cents per share from 12 cents, payable on Dec. 1, 2006 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 17.

For complete coverage see tomorrow's issue of WWD.

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