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Kenneth Cole Lifts 4th-Quarter Outlook

NEW YORK — Strong sales, coupled with prudent inventory management, led Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. on Friday to raise its fourth-quarter outlook, pushing its shares up more than 7 percent.<br><br>The New York-based footwear and apparel firm...

NEW YORK — Strong sales, coupled with prudent inventory management, led Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. on Friday to raise its fourth-quarter outlook, pushing its shares up more than 7 percent.

The New York-based footwear and apparel firm said it expects to report fourth-quarter earnings per share of “at least” 36 cents and revenues of about $117 million to $118 million. This compares with its prior forecast for earnings between 32 and 34 cents a share and for revenues of between $108 million and $110 million.

Analysts on average had been expecting the firm to earn 34 cents a share for the quarter, according to First Call.

“We are very pleased to have successfully navigated a particularly difficult holiday retail environment and continue to believe that we are properly positioned for the future,” Kenneth Cole, chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

The company also noted that it expects comparable-store sales to be up slightly from year-ago levels, and said its profitability was boosted through careful attention to promotional levels and inventory management.

Its wholesale division also benefited from attention to stock levels, as well as holiday merchandise that was popular with consumers, the company said. In addition, it said it has received positive initial feedback about fourth-quarter business from many of its licensees and believes this is a strong validation of its appropriate brand strategy.

Kenneth Cole’s stock rose $1.57, or 7.1 percent, to close Friday at $23.57 on the New York Stock Exchange. In the past year, shares have ascended as high as $30.50 on May 7 and have fallen as low as $15.89 on Feb. 8.

The company is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results on Feb. 28.