Despite a 6.7 per cent fall from a year ago, first quarter earnings at Oxford Industries Inc were better than expected. The clothing apparel maker's sales dropped to $179.53m from $204.38m, and net income was down to $3.127m from $3.477m.

Oxford attributed the sales decline to deteriorating economic conditions and continuing weakness in retail apparel sales. It also said consumer demand for replenishment merchandise continued to lag.

Looking ahead, the company was expects second quarter sales to fall 10-15 per cent on last year's $194.9 million.