Leading fashion producer Liz Claiborne Inc on Thursday reported a 15 per cent jump in second quarter profit as it was boosted by higher sales on the back of its recent purchases of brands like Juicy Couture.

The New York-based company announced a quarterly profit of $45 million, or 41 cents per diluted share, compared with $3m, or 36 cents, in the same 13-week period of last year, as sales climbed 21.5 per cent to $959m.

It said sales were boosted by the acquisitions of Ellen Tracy, Mexx Canada and Juicy Couture and added for the third quarter it expects earnings in the range of 85 to 88 cents per share, with sales up six to nine per cent.

Wholesale apparel net sales increased 21.7 per cent to $625m in the second quarter with wholesale non-apparel net sales up 21.9 per cent to $117m. Retail net sales grew 19.8 per cent to $212m but same-store sales were flat.

Chairman and CEO, Paul Charron, said: "Our higher than planned sales enabled us to achieve the upper end of our EPS expectation. Performance in the second quarter was driven primarily by the acquisitions of Ellen Tracy, Juicy Couture and Mexx Canada, growth in our Mexx Europe business and new product initiatives in our Special Markets sector.

"Our Cosmetics, Sigrid Olsen, Claiborne Men's and DKNY Men's businesses also made solid contributions."

But he cautioned: "The retail and macroeconomic environments remain challenging, particularly in the Better and Moderate channels. Apparel spending has been adversely impacted by a number of external factors, including the unemployment rate and consumer confidence."

For the full year, Liz, whose other brands include Axcess, Crazy Horse, Emma James, Lucky Brand and Mambo, said it still sees earnings in the range of $2.49 to $2.55 per share, with sales up 11 to 13 per cent.