Fashion giant Tommy Hilfiger Corporation on Monday posted a huge $439 million first quarter net loss based on an accounting change and announced its co-chairman, Lawrence Stroll, had quit.

The Hong Kong-based clothing designer and retailer said in the 13 weeks to June 30, it lost $4.88 per diluted share compared to a net profit of $9m, or 10 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

In a statement, Hilfiger said revenue climbed three per cent to $366.3m from $355.7m in 2001, and it sees full-year earnings per share of $1.67 as it expects strong sales of its women’s fashions and children’s collections.

CEO Joel Horowitz commented: "We are pleased that revenue and operating earnings exceeded our expectations for this first fiscal quarter. The increase in revenue was led by sustained demand among female consumers, who continue to drive growth in our women's businesses.

"Our missy business continued to perform as a category leader and was enhanced this quarter by the addition of our plus size line, TH Woman. Additionally, our juniors' business and childrenswear, especially girls sizes 7-16, performed very well at retail."

He continued: "In men's jeans, we saw some positive response to the introduction of new and updated styles for back-to-school. In addition, we continue to maintain tight inventory and expense control within the wholesale and corporate areas of the company, positioning it to meet the challenges of the current difficult retailing environment."

The company said Stroll had resigned to pursue his other business interests. Mr Horowitz said: "On behalf of the board, we wish Lawrence much success and we express our deep gratitude for his vision and contributions, particularly during the formative years of the company."