NEW YORK — Liz Claiborne Inc. said it is taking a fourth-quarter restructuring charge, while at the same time affirming growth expectations for 2001 and 2002.

The firm said Monday it will record a fourth-quarter pretax restructuring charge of between $15 million and $17 million to cover staff reductions, real estate consolidations and asset writedowns.

Excluding charges, it expects to report on Feb. 21 fourth-quarter earnings per share of between 47 and 49 cents and full-year EPS of between $1.91 and $1.93, both in line with prior guidance. Fourth-quarter sales are expected to increase 16 to 17 percent, resulting in a 10 to 11 percent sales increase for the year.

Full-year 2002 EPS guidance was pegged at between $2.08 and $2.13, with a sales increase of between 4 and 6 percent.

Paul R. Charron, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement: “We are pleased to be on track to achieve our 2001 growth expectations in what has clearly been a most difficult year. This performance in a challenging macroeconomic and retail environment validates our multibrand, multichannel diversification strategy. For 2002, we continue to plan our business conservatively and have taken the requisite steps to tightly manage both expenses and inventories. We also continue to pursue our diversification strategy and are optimistic of our ability to achieve our 2002 growth expectations.”

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