Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. on Wednesday posted third-quarter profits that more than doubled from a year ago.

This story first appeared in the November 3, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, income was $5.8 million, or 31 cents a diluted share, from $2 million, or 11 cents, last year. Total revenues rose 7.5 percent to $128 million from $119 million, while total sales jumped 8.1 percent to $116.2 million from $107.5 million. The balance of revenues was from royalty income.

For the nine months, the loss was $10.9 million, or 60 cents a diluted share, against income of $4.8 million, or 26 cents, a year ago. Total revenues gained 3.3 percent to $347.7 million from $336.5 million.

Paul Blum, chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview, “One of the reasons for the increase in profitability was our management of costs. We’ve been keeping a careful eye on costs. We also closed non-performing stores that were losing money.”

The company also increased sales, even though it closed 12 stores in the last year. In the last four months, it has focused on improving the presentation of its product lines via new marketing campaigns.

Changes in the design of the product lines are expected to impact spring merchandise as those programs are currently being implemented, according to Blum.

In the meantime, Kenneth Cole New York women’s footwear and handbags are scheduled for a major relaunch at its stores in spring and in the wholesale channel in the fall. Some of the handbags are already in Kenneth Cole retail stores now.

The Reaction and Unlisted women’s handbags collections are being relaunched with Westport as the licensee for the November market, according to Blum. Westport is the licensee for the Kenneth Cole New York and Reaction small leather goods businesses.

Blum also noted that while input costs in commodities have moderated, labor costs remain a challenge.

“As the labor costs go up in China, it’ll proportionately increase throughout the rest of Asia so we have to be really careful and smart in how we approach the market in terms of our sourcing,” the ceo said.

The company also said it signed an exclusive license with Reliance Brands Ltd. in India, which includes the opening of Kenneth Cole New York stores and distribution of Kenneth Cole branded product in department stores in India.

The company provided fourth-quarter diluted earnings per share guidance of between 37 and 39 cents, compared with a loss of 15 cents in the year-ago quarter.

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