Clothing and footwear manufacturer Kenneth Cole Productions Inc on Tuesday posted a healthy 15.4 per cent year-on-year rise in second quarter net profit as lower sales were offset by reduced costs.

The New York City-based firm, reported net income for the 13 weeks to June 30 climbed to $6 million, or 30 cents per share, from $5.4m, or 26 cents a share, in the year-ago period, although gross margins fell to 45.4 per cent from 46.4 per cent.

Net sales dropped to $96.9m from $99.3m last year while same-store sales for the latest quarter fell 4.4 per cent. Wholesale revenues slid to $48.6m from $53.6m while consumer direct revenues were flat at of $39.5m.

Chairman and CEO, Kenneth Cole, said: "We achieved our short-term earnings goal and improved our operating margin despite difficult market conditions. Our focus continues to be on improving our merchandising, managing our inventory, controlling our costs, and furthering our diversification initiatives."

He added: "While we will continue to operate conservatively due to the current state of the retail market, we remain optimistic and confident in each of our business groups' ability to generate growth while maintaining profitability."

The company added it sees third quarter earnings of 47 to 50 cents a share on sales of $125m to $128m, with fourth quarter earnings seen in the range of 46 to 48 cents a share on sales of $118m to $122m.