By  on May 9, 2008

NEW YORK — Kenneth Cole Productions reported meager first-quarter earnings and forecast a second-quarter loss this week.

The company's earnings of $807,000, or 4 cents per share, were in line with recent guidance and compared with year-ago earnings of $3.4 million or 17 cents per share. First-quarter revenue fell to $122.5 million from $129.3 million. Same-store sales rose 3.4 percent.

Licensing revenues rose 4.4 percent to $9.9 million, despite the effect of the company's transition of men's sportswear from a licensing model to a wholesale model. The overall wholesale business, however, saw a revenue decline of 10.7 percent to $74.1 million.

The softness in wholesale is expected to continue in the second quarter, therefore the company forecast net revenue of $108 million to $113 million and a loss between 11 and 13 cents per share.

Chairman Kenneth Cole said in a statement that "a combination of continued progress in our consumer direct and licensing businesses, overall expense reduction, and improved merchandising and marketing for our wholesale business will result in our return to profitability in the second half of the year."

First-quarter expenses included the company's 25th anniversary campaign and its continuing investment in men's sportswear development. Excluding those factors, the company reduced its operating costs.

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