NEW YORK — Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. managed double-digit gains on both the top and bottom lines in the first quarter.

Earnings strengthened 15.2 percent to $6.4 million, or 31 cents a diluted share, for the three months ended March 31. This compared with year-ago profits of $5.5 million, or 27 cents.

Prior to the after-market earnings report, investors on Tuesday traded down shares of the firm 17 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $23.67 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Net sales perked up 17 percent to $102.1 million from $87.3 million a year ago. Wholesale revenues increased 29.1 percent to $69.6 million, while consumer direct turnover dipped 2.4 percent to $32.6 million and licensing revenue shot up 42.4 percent to $8 million.

Consolidated inventories at the end of the quarter were 7 percent above a year ago, with a 6.6 percent rise at wholesale and a 7.3 percent increase in the consumer direct business.

Cole, which markets footwear, handbags and accessories and licenses men’s and women’s apparel, continues to look for second-quarter earnings per share of 29 to 31 cents a diluted share on $107 million to $110 million in sales.

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