Liz Claiborne posts smaller-than-expected Q2 loss

Aug 5 (Reuters) - Clothing maker Liz Claiborne Inc (LIZ.N) reported a much-smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday, helped in part by tight inventories and better margins at its Juicy Couture and Kate Spade brands.

Liz Claiborne


The company, which recently struck a deal with J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N) to sell its namesake line exclusively at the department store, also said it expects a "meaningful improvement in second-half operating results," though still cautious about the overall economy.

In July, Liz Claiborne said it would shut 87 namesake outlet stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, and Chief Executive William McComb said the closure will be done by early 2011.

Liz Claiborne reported a second-quarter net loss of $87 million, or 92 cents a share, from continuing operations, compared with a loss of $77 million, or 82 cents a share, last year.

Excluding items, the loss was 19 cents per share.

Wall Street was expecting a loss of 46 cents per share, on sales of $582.8 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales fell 16 percent to $570 million, due in part to the loss of sales from the Liz Claiborne brands, which are now licensed to J.C. Penney and Liberty Media Corp's (LINTA.O) QVC television shopping network.

Liz Claiborne shares were up 10 percent at $5.51 in morning trade Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Bangalore; Editing by Vinu Pilakkott and Gopakumar Warrier)

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