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'Holiday season to generate better financial results' – Jones CEO
29
Oct '09
Jones Apparel Group, Inc. reported results for the third quarter ended October 3, 2009. Reported revenues for the third quarter of 2009 were $856 million, as compared with $965 million for the third quarter of 2008. The decrease in revenues of 11% was as anticipated and reflective of overall economic conditions that continue to affect retail sales in general.

The Company reported adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations ("EPS") of $0.46 for the third quarter of 2009, as compared with adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.34 for the same period last year. The 2009 third quarter results exclude charges related to severance and other costs related to restructuring activities initiated across the Company, and certain other costs totaling approximately $13 million ($8 million after tax) (see reconciliation of adjusted earnings to reported earnings in the accompanying schedule).

As reported under generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"), the Company reported earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.36 per share for the third quarter of 2009, as compared with earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.32 for the same period last year.

Wesley R. Card, Jones Apparel Group President and Chief Executive Officer, stated: "We maneuvered through this very difficult period in our economy by initiating a rigorous effort across the Company focused on controlling inventories and managing costs, while simultaneously invigorating our merchandising and product initiatives. These efforts allowed us to improve operating performance in all segments in the face of an anticipated sales decline. Our vertical retail business is showing signs of improvement as the changes we are making begin to take effect. Comparable store sales in our retail division were down, as anticipated, and consistent with the overall retail environment."

Cash provided by operating activities during the nine months was $149 million, compared with cash provided by operations of $8 million in the same period last year. The year-over-year change in cash provided is primarily due to better working capital management and lower working capital requirements.

John T. McClain, Jones Apparel Group Chief Financial Officer, commented: "Our balance sheet, liquidity and cash flow remain strong. We ended the quarter with over $155 million of cash, and our revolver remains undrawn. Our total debt balance is $537 million, $245 million less than a year ago, and our debt to total capitalization ratio, net of cash, is 23.7%. As a result of our aggressive management, inventories and expenses continue to be well controlled, with inventories down 24% compared with the prior year."

The Company continues to implement its previously-announced retail improvement plan to right-size the retail portfolio, with the goal of enhancing segment profitability, reducing capital expenditures and improving return on invested capital. To date, the Company has exited 69 locations and remains on track to exit a total of approximately 265 locations, which will continue to occur throughout the remainder of 2009 and 2010. The Company now anticipates expense savings and the elimination of unprofitable store locations to improve results by $4 million in 2009, $16 million in 2010 and $22 million in 2011.

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