Upscale New York-based apparel designer and chain Polo Ralph Lauren Corp on Wednesday posted a steep fall in first quarter net profits amid a spending slowdown but reaffirmed its full-year profit forecast.

The company said adjusted income was $8.7 million, or nine cents per share, compared to pro forma adjusted income of $13.6m, or 14 cents a share in 2001. The adjusted results exclude gains and losses on foreign currency translations.

Revenue fell 1.1 per cent to $467m from $472m, with gains in the retail segment and the European wholesale business offset by an expected decline in the men's domestic wholesale business.

Retail sales climbed to $227.1m from $217.8m, while wholesale sales slipped to $186.7m from $201.8m, both on a pro forma basis.

In a statement, the marketer of the Polo and Ralph Lauren brands and operator of 237 stores reaffirmed its previous full-year earnings guidance of $1.80-$1.90 per share and previous second-quarter guidance of 48-53 cents.

"While the overall environment remains challenging, we are continuing to strengthen our worldwide market position and are investing in our future growth," said chairman and CEO, Ralph Lauren.

"Our most recent men's collection show in Europe was highly acclaimed and demonstrates the strong and growing appeal of our brand in this large market. Our women's collection continues to be well received, giving us great confidence in the much anticipated launch of our Blue Label line this fall both here and in Europe."