By  on November 3, 2006

NEW YORK — Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. reported a third-quarter earnings decline on Thursday, but the results still surpassed company expectations.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, income declined 15 percent to $9.2 million, or 45 cents a diluted share, from $10.9 million, or 53 cents, in the year-ago period. The results included 1 cent per share of options and restricted stock expense. The company anticipated third-quarter earnings per share between 41 and 44 cents.

Total revenues for the quarter rose 5.8 percent to $143.7 million from $135.8 million a year ago. Revenues included a sales gain of 6.5 percent to $132.8 million from $124.7 million.

For the nine-month period, income fell 27.9 percent to $18.8 million, or 92 cents a diluted share, from $26.1 million or $1.28, last year. Revenues rose by 4.3 percent to $401.5 million from $385 million, which includes a sales gain of 4.4 percent to $369.9 million from $354.3 million.

During the quarter, the company reached an agreement with its licensee, PDI, to take control of Kenneth Cole New York men's and women's sportswear brands. The licenses for the lines were set to expire at the end of 2007.

"As has become the trend in our industry, we view the opportunity to regain control of our flagship sportswear label as a long-term positive for our company, although not without short-term challenges," Kenneth Cole, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

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