Fashion group Guess? Inc has posted net earnings of $0.8 million for the first quarter, up from a net loss of $5.8m in the same period a year earlier.

The California-based company also reported a 9.9 per cent increase in net revenue for the quarter to $153.3m, up from $139.6m in the previous first quarter.

Retail revenue inclusive of Canadian stores, meanwhile, rose 19.9 per cent year-on-year to $99.5m, while comparable store sales climbed 12.8 per cent for the quarter.

Co-CEO Paul Marciano said the company was "optimistic" about Guess?'s prospects for full-year 2004 based on its improved first quarter results.

"The 12.8 per cent increase in same-store sales coupled with a significant margin increase and a lower S,G&A expense rate resulted in a $10.7m improvement in operating income for the period, with our retail and wholesale segments contributing the greatest gains," he said.

"We have maintained a clear focus on our inventory management and cost control as we continue to grow our revenue base through store expansion and same-store sales increases."