Leading clothing maker Oxford Industries Inc on Thursday reported a 51 per cent jump in first quarter net profit from the year-ago period as it was boosted by the June purchase of Tommy Bahama Brand owner Viewpoint International.

The Georgia-based company, which also makes labels such as Tommy Hilfiger and Nautica under licence, posted net income for the 13 weeks ended August 30 of $6.8 million, or 84 cents a share, compared to $4.5m, or 60 cents a share, in the same period of 2002.

Sales soared 41 per cent to $242m from $172m last year with sales at its tailored clothing group, Lanier Clothes, up 14 per cent from last year with sales at Oxford Slacks up 51 per cent year-on-year.

But sales at its womenswear group fell six per cent due its decision to end its business with Kmart, while Oxford Shirt Group revenues fell 12 per cent from last year due to declines in golf apparel shipments. The Viewpoint business contributed $63m of revenue during the first quarter.

Oxford chairman and CEO, J Hicks Lanier, said: "We are off to a strong start for fiscal 2004 and have completed a record first quarter for both revenues and diluted earnings per share.

"The Viewpoint International business drove these record results, but we were also very pleased with the performance of our historical four operating groups, which showed improvement from both a sales and profitability standpoint, despite a challenging retail environment."

The company said it now sees second quarter earnings of 75 to 80 cents a share on sales of $245m to $255m with third quarter earnings seen at $1.08 to $1.15 a share on sales of $280m to $295m and fourth quarter earnings of $1.50 to $1.60 a share, on sales of $295m to $310m.

It added that excluding items, it now sees fiscal 2004 earnings of $4.67 to $4.89 a share, versus its previous view of $4.35 to $4.65 a share, with sales seen in the range of 1.05 billion to $1.1bn.