Oxford Industries Inc (NYSE: OXM) has announced its financial results for the first quarter ended September 1, 2000. Consolidated net sales increased 10.1 per cent to $204.4 million from $185.7 million last year. First quarter net earnings declined $1.2 million to $3.5 million from $4.7 million in the prior year. Diluted earnings per share declined 25.0% to $0.45 from $0.60 in the first quarter last year.All four operating groups reported sales gains led by tailored clothing. Gross margins improved to 18.3 per cent from 18.1 per cent in the previous year due to higher initial margins and improvements in manufacturing operations. First quarter operating expenses increased as a percentage of sales to 15.0 per cent from 13.6 per cent last year. The additional expenses of four new marketing divisions, Tommy Hilfiger Womens Golf, Izod Club Golf, Slates Tailored Clothing and DKNY Kids, were primarily responsible for the increased SG&A expense. These higher expense levels resulted in a 21.2 per cent decrease in operating earnings to $6.7 million from $8.5 million last year.The balance sheet remains strong. Asset turnover continues to improve. Trailing twelve-month accounts receivable and total inventory turnover were 7.1 and 5.0, respectively. At quarter end, debt to total capitalization stood at 31.3 per cent. The company repurchased 71,400 shares of its common stock during the first quarter.