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US climate hits Jones Apparel

Jones Apparel, the US clothing and footwear retailer, reported a fall in profits over the first quarter of 2008 but stressed that recent sales over the spring season had been encouraging.

Wesley Card, Jones Apparel group president and chief executive, said the warmer weather had kick-started customer demand. “When the weather warmed up in the first part of April, we saw a definite pick up in our retail sales.”

The retailer said its first quarter results for the period to April 5 were in line with expectations.

Total revenues over the quarter dropped to US$975.4 million (£493.1m) from US$1 billion (£504m) and like-for-like sales fell 8.7%. Gross profit also dropped to US$320.7m (£162m) from US$365.1m (£184.5m).

Card added that the results reflected a challenging US economic environment. “While first quarter results were in line with expectations, we believe there is enhanced value to be realised as we pursue operational improvements and enhance the appeal of our brands. During the quarter we maintained tighter inventory controls. However, markdown support to our retail partners was higher than in the first quarter of 2007,” he said.

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