STOUGHTON, Mass. — Reebok International Ltd. reported first-quarter U.S. apparel sales rose 10.4 percent, to $34.5 million, from $31.2 million a year ago.

In the quarter ended March 31, Reebok brand sales outside the U.S., including footwear and apparel, were up 3.1 percent, to $341.5 million from $331.3 million. Paul Fireman, chairman and chief executive officer, said the U.S. apparel business continues to grow rapidly, and first-quarter results “understate the underlying strength of this segment.”

Total earnings in the quarter fell 3 percent, to $65.8 million, or 77 cents a share, from $67.8 million, or 74 cents. Sales in the first quarter rose 4 percent, to $857.4 million from $825.2 million. Per-share amounts reflect the company’s buyback of 1.2 million shares, for $37.2 million, in the quarter. The firm now has 85.3 million shares outstanding, against 91.1 million a year ago. The repurchase was part of the company’s $200 million share buyback program announced in July 1993. As of March 31, $98.5 million remains available under the program for future share repurchases.

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