Clothing maker and retailer Jones Apparel Group Inc on Tuesday posted a 34 per cent year-on-year plunge in first-quarter earnings amid disappointing sales dropped and an accounting change.

The New York-based company, whose brands include Jones New York and Nine West, said its net income fell to $70.7m, or 53 cents per diluted share, compared with $107.9m, or 84 cents per share, in 2001.

Revenue for the quarter climbed five per cent to $1.13 billion from $1.08bn. It said before an accounting change, it earned $84.5m, or 63 cents a share, down from $96.4m, or 84 cents, in the year prior. It forecast full-year earnings before charges of about $2.65 a share on revenues of $4.2bn.

Chairman Sidney Kimmel, commented: "The resiliency of the economy and the performance of our products in the retail channel, including our own retail stores, generally exceeded our initial expectations.

"We believe that our multi-brand product strategy, focusing on diversification and balance across distribution channels, target consumers and core competencies, provides us with the ability to generate positive results in a challenging retail environment."