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Net Rises at Jones But Warning Sends Shares Down 10%

Jones Apparel Group had good news about second-quarter results and the prospects for its Signature line, but it reduced guidance for the year.

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He pointed out that the company viewed the concessions as a positive move to transition the product, and that it was obviously working with its retail partners on its Signature rollout.

Officials at Polo declined comment.

Expressing a degree of skepticism about Signature, Jennifer Black, analyst at Well Fargo, said, “They may be selling in 700 doors, but the $64,000 question is, ‘What will their sell-throughs be like?’ It will be interesting to see how Signature is different from the core line. Just because a consumer buys Jones doesn’t mean she will suddenly decide she has to have Signature, too. I think the jury is still out on this one.”

The company reduced fiscal 2003 earnings per share guidance to between $2.75 and $2.80 from between $2.90 and $3.10. After related costs for the Lauren transition, EPS is expected at between $2.40 and $2.50, on revenues of between $4.33 billion and $4.38 billion. For 2004, the company expects EPS in the range of $2.25 to $2.50 on revenues of $4 billion.

For the six months, income jumped 40.6 percent to $192.9 million, or $1.44 a diluted share, from $137.2 million, or $1.02, last year. Total revenues were up 5.5 percent to $2.21 billion from $2.10 billion.
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