Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation posted an 85% increase in net sales to US$48.7m in the first quarter of 2006, compared to US$25m during the same period last year, driven by a strong performance by the company's Calvin Klein brand.

First quarter non-GAAP earnings per share was $0.74, which was $0.01 to $0.02 ahead of the updated earnings guidance provided in April and a 76% improvement over last year's earnings per share of $0.42.

Aggregate operating earnings for the company's wholesale and retail businesses increased 62%, and the Calvin Klein Licensing business recorded a 10% increase in operating earnings.

Total revenues in the first quarter 2006 increased 7% to $506.4m from $472.1m in the prior year, driven by improvements in the company's wholesale sportswear business and outlet retail business.

Wholesale sportswear growth was driven by increases in all of the company's sportswear brands, particularly Calvin Klein men's better sportswear.

Phillips-Van Heusen CEO Emanuel Chirico said: "We are extremely pleased that the strong momentum of 2005 continued through the first quarter of 2006. The strength of the Calvin Klein brand continued to fuel significant increases in earnings in the Calvin Klein men's better sportswear business, the Calvin Klein outlet retail business as well as the Calvin Klein Licensing business.

"The brand continues to be a key growth engine for our company as we expand the breadth and reach of product offerings. The balance of our wholesale sportswear businesses also contributed to our strong earnings performance, as did excellent results posted by our other outlet retail businesses."