NEW YORK — Boosted partially by a decrease in merchandise markdowns, Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. on Thursday reported a 22.2 percent increase in third-quarter earnings, meeting analysts’ forecasts.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, the shoe and clothing marketer earned $12.2 million, or 59 cents a share, compared with a profit of $10 million, or 49 cents, in the same period last year.

Total quarterly revenues were $144.7 million, up 9.6 percent from the prior-year’s sales of $132.1 million. Same-store sales, however, declined 1.1 percent, which the company attributed to poor weather in the Southeast. Included in revenues were a 9.7 percent gain in sales to $132.9 million from $121.2 million, and an 8.2 percent jump in licensing and other income to $11.8 million from $10.9 million.

“We performed well during the quarter, despite an increasingly challenging retail environment,” said Kenneth Cole, chief executive officer of the company, in a statement. “We believe that our efforts to build a more responsive and increasingly efficient operation over the past several years has enabled us to maintain our profitability while at the same time serving the needs of the product and our brands.”

Kenneth Cole said it still expects to earn 55 to 56 cents in the fourth quarter, compared with analysts’ consensus of 56 cents a share.

The company also said its board of directors approved a third-quarter dividend of 14 cents per share to be paid to shareholders on Dec. 16.

For the nine months, income rose 18.4 percent to $26.6 million, or $1.29 a diluted share, from $22.5 million, or $1.10 last year. Revenues gained 12.1 percent to $380.1 million from $339.1 million.

— Meredith Derby

This story first appeared in the October 22, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.