Apparel company VF Corporation admitted it would miss its full-year earnings projections after first quarter profits slumped 32.3% to US$100.9m.

Falling sales in the company's European jeans business contributed to a 7% decline in revenues to $1.726bn, although foreign currency translation accounted for five percentage points of the fall.

Nonetheless, the figures missed VF's own projection of a four-percentage-point decline, and led the company to revise its full-year guidance downwards.

Abandoning quarterly guidance because of volatility in global markets, VF said full-year revenues were now expected to fall by 5-7%, thanks to the "severe contraction" in the economies of eastern Europe and Scandinavia; lower than anticipated uniform sales; and softness in the premium denim market.

Full-year earnings per share are now projected at $4.70-5.00, down from $5.42 in 2008.

However, VF said that its four largest brands - Wrangler, The North Face, Lee and Vans - were "continuing to perform well". The brands account for more than 60% of VF's total revenues.

"Times like these offer strong companies with strong brands like ours a unique opportunity to drive market share gains and improve their long-term competitive position," said Eric C Wiseman, company chairman, president and CEO.

"We intend to take advantage of this opportunity by continuing to invest behind our brands' core growth strategies to gain share, and we intend to emerge from these difficult times stronger than ever."