Jones Group sales help profit beat expectations

April 27 - Jones Group Inc's quarterly profit beat Wall Street estimates, helped by cost cuts and stronger sales that mitigated the rising cotton prices that are hurting all clothing companies.

Jones
Nine West (Jones Group Inc)

The company said in February it would raise prices on clothes and its more expensive shoes in first half of the year, then follow that with hikes across all of its products in the second half.

Jones, which has brands like Nine West, Jones New York and Anne Klein in its portfolio, said revenue rose 8.3 percent to $961.3 million in the first quarter, beating the analysts' average estimate of $939.2 million.

Jones reported a profit of $24.9 million available to shareholders, or 30 cents per share, compared with $37.5 million, or 45 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding certain one-time items, earnings came to 38 cents per share, compared with the average analyst estimate of 30 cents a share.

Gross margin fell to 34.4 percent from 36.8 percent a year earlier. But the company said it has been keeping inventories tight to help stem the margin decline.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba and Brad Dorfman; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Derek Caney)

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