Rising sales from its wholesale jeans division helped Jones Apparel Group to record a 20% hike in second quarter profit to US$12.6m.

The 28.5% rise in revenues from wholesale jeans offset declines in all the company's other divisions, leaving Jones with second quarter revenues of $804m, down 3.1% on the same period last year.

The unexpected rise in profits came as Jones continues to restructure its retail portfolio, now planning to exit 240 locations in 2009 and 2010, of which 48 have already been vacated.

The company expects this process, along with expense reductions, to improve its 2009 full-year results by $4m, with further savings of $15m in 2010 and $21m in 2011.

"We are benefiting from the initiatives that we began last year to streamline our organisation, optimise our distribution network and update our technology infrastructure," said Wesley R Card, Jones Apparel president and CEO.

"Furthermore, we continue to position the company for the ultimate economic recovery and are taking steps to strengthen and begin to increase sales of our core brands," he added.

"We continue, however, to remain cautious in our outlook for the remainder of 2009."