Jones Apparel Group today announced that it has signed an agreement to provide design and merchandising support to Polo Ralph Lauren's licensee in Japan. The company will also be the direct supplier of product for Europe, including Israel and the Middle East, and all other international locations. As compensation for this support, Jones will participate in the royalty income paid by Polo's licensee. As the direct supplier, Jones will sell Lauren and Ralph products under a wholesale agreement consistent with the current arrangements with Polo Ralph Lauren corporation. All sales, marketing and distribution will be directed by Polo or one of its licensees. The arrangements will commence with product for Spring 2001.Sidney Kimmel, chairman, said: "We believe that the introduction of the Lauren and Ralph brands will be met with outstanding response. These brands provide superior quality and fashionable women's and young women's sportswear at better price points under the premier American designer brand name. We have an excellent relationship with the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation and look forward to further strengthening it with this new venture."Mr Kimmel continued: "Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation has excellent marketing and distribution resources in both Europe and Asia to successfully execute these launches. We are optimistic that the success of these brands that has been realized in the United States and Canada will be extended internationally as well, and develop into a meaningful business over time."