Apparel maker Perry Ellis International Inc on Monday (22 May) said its first quarter revenues fell by 5% on lower sales of its private label and branded garments as retailers consolidated their chains - and said it has entered into a swimwear license agreement with JAG Licensing LLC to help expand its brand portfolio.

The Miami-based firm said sales were down to US$214.0m from US$225.6m in the same period last year. Perry Ellis blamed the decline on reduced uptake of its ranges by a national mid-tier chain and Federated Department Store door closures following its merger with the May Company.

First quarter earnings were $0.59 per fully diluted share compared to $0.89 per fully diluted share last year.

George Feldenkreis, chairman and chief executive officer, said the company managed to improve its gross margins and reduce operating expenses compared to last year. He added: "We continue to take advantage of opportunities to strategically expand our brand and product category portfolio."

The company recently added the Dockers license for men's outerwear to its portfolio, and has growth plans in the action sports/swimwear category. This will be complemented by its latest deal to manufacture and distribute JAG men's and women's swimwear and cover-ups in the United States, Canada and Mexico until 2011.

Perry Ellis will launch the product for cruise and spring 2007 into better department and specialty stores, the company said.

"We are pleased to be selected as the new JAG licensee," said Perry Ellis International chairman and CEO George Feldenkreis. "We plan to leverage our strong distribution with Jantzen, Perry Ellis, Original Penguin and Nike Swim so that JAG can reach its full potential. Our growing portfolio of compelling swim brands also helps strengthen our relationships with our retail partners."