Women's apparel maker Liz Claiborne Inc today reported an 8.6 per cent increase in net sales of $789.5 million for the second quarter 2002 - the firm's 26th consecutive quarterly sales rise.

Net sales for the company, whose brands include Liz Claiborne, Crazy Horse, and Lucky Brand, were a record $1.682 billion for the first six months of 2002 the company said, compared to $1.554 billion for the comparable 2001 period, an increase of 8.3 per cent.

Paul R Charron, chairman and chief executive officer, stated: "These results were driven by the strong overall performance of our brands at retail, solid execution and conservative planning.

"For fiscal 2002, we are optimistic that we can achieve a sales increase of 5-7 per cent and EPS in the range of $2.17-2.20. For the third quarter of 2002, we are optimistic that we can achieve a sales increase of 3-4 per cent and EPS in the range of $0.76-0.78."