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Liz Claiborne Profit Falls Sharply, Hurt By High Markdowns

Apparel maker Liz Claiborne said that quarterly profit fell, hurt by restructuring charges, lower-than-expected wholesale sales and higher markdowns.

Net income was $16.2 million, or 16 cents a share, for the first quarter, compared with $46.9 million, or 45 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Excluding the impact of expenses related to the company's restructuring and closing of underperforming stores, earnings were 22 cents a share.

Sales in the first quarter fell 1.6% to $1.15 billion, as a change in retailers' calendar shifted $45 million of wholesale shipments into the second quarter from the first.

The company also said it expects adjusted 2007 earnings per share in the range of $1.90 to $2.05, excluding charges.

"Clearly, we wish we could have reported better first-quarter earnings and provided a stronger outlook for the year," said Liz Claiborne Chief Executive William McComb.

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