Guess?, Inc (NYSE: GES) today announced net earnings for the second quarter ended July 1, 2000 increased 72.3 per cent to $12.1m compared to net earnings of $7m in the second quarter last year.

Diluted earnings per share were $0.28 for the second quarter versus $0.16 in the prior year. Net revenues for the second quarter increased 48.6 per cent to $177.7m, including $8.4m net revenue of Guess Canada, compared to $119.6m last year.

For the six months ended July 1, 2000, net earnings increased 48.7 per cent to $27.5m versus $18.5m for the comparable period last year. Diluted earnings per share were $0.63 versus $0.43 in the prior year. Net revenue for the first six months of fiscal 2000 increased 47.4 per cent to $366.5m, including $16.3m net revenue of Guess Canada, compared to $248.6m last year.

Paul Marciano, co-chairman and co-chief executive officer of Guess?, said: "The continued success of our retail operations can be attributed to a smart, fashion-focused product mix and brand awareness. Building on this success, we have opened 25 new stores through the second quarter and are on track to open an additional 34 stores by year-end."

Maurice Marciano, co-chairman and co-chief executive officer said: "We are very encouraged by the strength of our wholesale division, particularly the almost 50 per cent gain in our full-priced domestic business."

In the second quarter of 2000, the company incurred start-up and other non-recurring costs of $2.7m relating to the relocation of its distribution center operations to Louisville, KY.

In the second quarter of 1999, the company had accrued a pretax charge of $3.2m for future severance costs for employees of the Los Angeles-based distribution center. The company successfully completed the transition of all product lines to the new distribution center during the second quarter of 2000.

"We are very enthusiastic about both our near-and long-term prospects. Our continued strong comp momentum and wholesale bookings bodes well for back-to-school and gives us a high degree of confidence with regard to the second half of fiscal 2000," concluded Mr Marciano.

Guess ?, Inc. designs, markets, distributes and licenses one of the world's leading lifestyle collections of casual apparel, accessories and related consumer products.