Wind the clock back six months and things were looking pretty gloomy for Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation. Fresh from a costly restructuring, the company was staring a grim 2009 in the face.

But since then, the company's fortunes have been transformed: FY profit forecasts have been adjusted upwards twice, most recently with the announcement of its decidedly buoyant third quarter results.

A 56% profit hike to US$83.6m has left PVH with little alternative but to raise again its full-year eps guidance to $2.59-2.63, some 30% higher than its estimate of six months ago.

The company is undoubtedly reaping the benefits of some very tough decisions taken late in 2008, such as the closure of its Geoffrey Beene store chain, the axing of 10% of its workforce, and the ending of US machine-made neckwear production.

These were all designed to have a beneficial effect on expenses, and therefore PVH's bottom line, but their impact has been accentuated by a recent revenue performance that has confounded expectations.

Once you take Geoffrey Beene out of the equation, third quarter revenue was pretty much static at $697.4m - boosted by strong performances across the retail and wholesale board, but particularly by solid royalty revenues for Calvin Klein.

Not that it's all about CK. Izod, Arrow and Van Heusen have all benefited from a combination of good brand equity and a value-demanding consumer.

And they have all benefited from PVH's determination to maintain advertising spend when so many others have cut it to the bone, as chairman and CEO Emanuel Chirico pointed out: "This strong performance by all of our brands indicates the beneficial impact of our continued investment in advertising through this most difficult economic environment."

Chirico is promising more of the same in the fourth quarter and, while the next couple of months will still be crucial to the company's overall FY performance, it could scarcely be better-placed to take advantage of that hoped-for US recovery in 2010.