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Jones Apparel revises fiscal 2008 guidance

15
Oct '08
Jones Apparel Group Inc revised its earnings guidance for fiscal year 2008, reflecting the continued weakening of the overall economic climate and the impact on consumer spending and on its retail customers of the recent unprecedented events in the financial markets.

Wesley R. Card, Jones Apparel Group President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "The economic environment continues to deteriorate, as evidenced by the recently reported September retail comparable store sales figures. Despite the increasingly difficult market conditions, we remain committed to our focus on enhancing our core brands to improve performance and increase our market share."

"The strategies we began implementing last year, combined with new product initiatives, have revitalized and strengthened our ability to better manage through these volatile times."

The Company now expects to report 2008 full year adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations in a range of $0.93 to $0.98, compared with 2007 adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.26. The Company's previous guidance was a range of $1.20 to $1.35. For the third quarter of 2008, the Company expects to report adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations in a range of $0.32 to $0.34, compared with 2007 third quarter adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.51.

The Company continues to maintain a strong financial position and estimates that for the third quarter ended October 4, 2008 it will report available cash of approximately $200 million, with no outstanding short-term debt and over $1 billion of availability in committed revolving credit facilities.

The Company expects to end 2008 with approximately $300 million of available cash and no short term borrowings, and to generate operating cash flow from continuing operations for the year in a range of $130 million to $145 million.

Mr. Card continued, "Our retail operations trended negatively during the third quarter consistent with the overall economic climate, reflecting a drop in consumer confidence and spending levels. Comparable store sales in our own stores declined significantly in September and were down approximately 2% for the full quarter. Given the difficult business climate, we anticipate a more promotional fourth quarter and are therefore revising our full year guidance."

"We believe that the progress we have made in managing working capital and strengthening our brands will enable us to navigate through this difficult time. We continue to work closely with our customers to pursue our multiple strategies to drive consumer demand and growth, while controlling inventory and operating expenses."

Jones Apparel Group Inc


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