Jones Apparel Group boosted its profit during the first quarter of the year, with sales above its expectations.

The company posted net income of $39.4m for the first quarter period, down from $0.3m in the same period last year.

Q1 revenues were $887m, as compared with $891m for the first quarter of 2009. Gross profit margin increased 390 basis points to 36.8%, reflecting continued careful inventory management, the company said.

The 2010 first quarter results include, among other items, costs and charges of approximately $3m related to the acquisition of Robert Rodriguez in February.

Wesley R Card, Jones Apparel Group CEO, said: "We are very pleased with the results we achieved in the first quarter and the positioning and performance of our core brands.

"Sales for the first quarter exceeded expectations and operating margins increased in all segments compared with the prior year's quarter.

"Jeanswear margins were exceptionally strong, which is reflective of the group's execution and aggressive inventory management.

"Better apparel and footwear and accessories were also strong performers, driven by higher gross margins. Our vertical retail operations results are much improved.

The company closed 63 retail locations during the quarter and ended the quarter with 877 locations. It is to close an additional 110 unprofitable locations by the end of 2010.

Click here for the company's full financial statement.