Clothing maker and retailer Jones Apparel Group Inc on Tuesday reported a 9.5 per cent rise in first quarter revenues, boosted by its acquisitions of Gloria Vanderbilt and l.e.i.

For the quarter ended 5 April 2003, revenues were $1.23 billion, up from $1.13 billion for the first quarter of 2002.

Peter Boneparth, chief executive officer, described the first quarter results as "very satisfying in a period that witnessed a generally soft economic climate, major geopolitical concerns and military conflict. This was evidenced in our retail stores, which were impacted by lacklustre consumer traffic resulting in a 10 per cent decline in comparable store sales."

He added that the economic outlook for the rest of 2003 remains uncertain, "with most economists not predicting a significant upturn until early 2004.

"We now expect that earnings per share for the full year will fall in a range of $2.90 to $3.10.

He said the company plans to significantly reduce its production cycles and to deliver fashion right product to the customer. 2003 product launches include Bandolino apparel, Gloria Vanderbilt sportswear, Esprit handbags, and Gloria Vanderbilt footwear and handbags.