NEW YORK — A gain from the settlement of a lawsuit helped Guess Inc. more than double its earnings in the third quarter despite an 8.5 percent decline in sales. But the Los Angeles-based company warned the economy remains tough and said it was kicking off a round of cost-cutting actions intended to improve margins.

Guess on Thursday reported net income of $3.4 million, or 8 cents a diluted share, in line with the company’s earnings forecast given early last month and more than double the $1.3 million, or 3 cents a share, reported a year earlier. This year’s results were helped by a $4 million pretax lawsuit settlement gain, while last year’s were hurt by $4.4 million in pretax restructuring charges.

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