• Net sales for the first quarter dip 12% to $513m
  • Net loss of $96.3m, from $71.8m in Q1 last year
  • Juicy Couture performance "challenging"

US fashion group Liz Claiborne has slipped to a wider net loss during the first quarter after a sales decline.

The company reaffirmed its earnings outlook for the year, and cited the impact of a $58m decrease in net sales of brands that have been licensed or exited, associated with the transition of the Liz Claiborne family of brands to licensing models under the JCPenney and QVC arrangements.

William L McComb, chief executive officer of Liz Claiborne, said: "Direct to consumer comparable sales for March and estimated month to date comparable sales for April reflect both the impact of the Easter shift as well as the current trend in our businesses. At kate spade, we continue to see exceptional performance across all product categories, channels and geographies.

"Lucky Brand is now gaining momentum across the store, benefiting from strong sell throughs of their spring assortments. As we forecast on the last call, Juicy Couture's performance was challenging in the quarter. We are excited about improvements in product already in the pipeline, driven by Leann Nealz and her team, and look forward to a positive impact on the business by Holiday.

"At Mexx Europe, we are encouraged by the progress to date in rebuilding the wholesale business and will continue our focus on improving profitability in the direct to consumer channel. In Partnered Brands, we are on track to generate positive adjusted operating income for the year. We look forward to showcasing these brands and their management teams tomorrow at our investor day conference."

Liz Claiborne ended the quarter with 43 specialty retail stores and 29 outlet stores, reflecting the net addition over the last 12 months of 5 specialty retail stores.

Click here to read the company's financial results in full.