NEW YORK — Boosted by robust sales in its sportswear business, The Warnaco Group Inc. on Monday posted a 45.1 percent jump in first-quarter earnings as well as a double-digit gain in total revenues.

The apparel supplier also said it may be on the prowl for an acquisition.

For the three months ended April 2, income was $29.4 million, or 63 cents a diluted share, versus $20.2 million, or 44 cents, in the same year-ago quarter. Excluding discontinued operations, income was $29.2 million compared with $23.7 million a year ago. The company said that higher revenues, lower administrative expenses as a percentage of revenues and fewer restructuring items contributed to improvements in income for the first quarter of fiscal 2005.

Revenues rose 11.8 percent to $439.5 million from $393.3 million, driven by the sportswear group, with the expanded distribution of Chaps and the continued strength of Calvin Klein jeans. Sales in the sportswear group surged 34.7 percent in the quarter to $130.4 million from $96.8 million a year ago. Intimate apparel revenues rose 7.5 percent to $151.8 million from $141.2 million, while the swimwear group inched up 1.4 percent to $157.4 million from $155.3 million.

Joe Gromek, Warnaco’s president and chief executive officer, said in a conference call to Wall Street that “Calvin Klein Jeans continues to demonstrate solid revenue growth.”

The ceo said Calvin Klein Swim has the potential to be the largest designer swimwear brand worldwide. In July, the company is planning to show its Calvin Klein swimwear line, which puts it two years ahead of schedule.

Gromek said the company is pleased with its turnaround in the intimate apparel group, while Calvin Klein underwear remains a source for organic growth.

Meanwhile, Warnaco remains on the lookout for strategic acquisitions, the ceo said.

Management said it will launch two new Calvin Klein intimates lines, one for men and the other for women. Calvin Klein 365 for men, a lightweight stretch cotton line, will launch in more than 500 doors in August. Perfectly Fit, a bra and panty assortment, is a new offering that showcases the fashion aesthetic of Calvin Klein.

This story first appeared in the May 10, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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