By  on October 19, 2009

Double-digit sales gains in its men’s and women’s businesses lifted earnings for premium denim player Joe’s Jeans during the third quarter.

For the three months ended Aug. 31, the Los Angeles-based company saw earnings rise 5.7 percent to $1.9 million, or 3 cents a diluted share, compared with earnings of $1.8 million, or 3 cents, in the same period a year ago.

Sales increased 16.4 percent to $21.2 million from $18.2 million, thanks to a 13 percent sales increase in the company’s women’s domestic business and a 10 percent increase in men’s.

“Despite the current economic environment, we feel the Joe’s brand is in the best position it’s been in since its inception,” said Marc Crossman, president and chief executive officer, during a conference call with analysts.

Crossman said the women’s business was the strongest performer in the quarter, dropping only in the midsingle-digit range at department stores and logging significant increases in the specialty store channel.

“For our business to be down modestly, we had to beat our department store plans, which we did,” said Crossman.

For the first nine months of the year, earnings improved 7.9 percent to $4 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with earnings of $3.8 million, or 6 cents, a year ago. Sales rose 6.8 percent to $54.9 million from $51.4 million.

Management said the men’s domestic business experienced a sales gain of 17 percent during the period, while further gains came from branded stores and the introduction of woven shirts. However, those gains were offset by declines in the women’s and children’s domestic businesses during the nine months.

The company is in negotiations to expand internationally with eight in-store shops in France. Its third outlet store opened in the U.S. in July and management intends to open five more next year. Crossman added the company is seeking a full-price branded store location in New York and intends to open five mall locations in 2010.

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