US clothing giant Jones Apparel Group Inc has completed its purchase of the maker of lei jeans for $309 million as it looks to strengthen its hand in the lucrative and fast-growing teen clothing market.

In a statement Friday, New York-based Jones said the deal for RSV Sport Inc and its related companies, lei, includes one million shares of Jones stock, valued at $37.5m, and $272.5m in cash.

It added it will also take on $83.2m of funded debt with the lei’s shareholders and some staff entitled to receive up to $70m in additional payments if certain earnings targets are achieved over the next three years.

Lei, a leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of girls’ and young women’s moderately priced jeanswear, enjoyed net sales of $248 million in 2001, with its products sold in stores including May Company, Federated, Nordstrom, JC Penney, Kohl’s and Sears.

Mel Geliebter, chief executive of lei, will also become chief executive officer of Jones’ Sun Apparel private label division.