Fifth & Pacific shrinks 3Q loss

NEW YORK -- Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc.'s shares jumped Thursday after the clothing company said its third-quarter loss narrowed on stronger sales of its Kate Spade and Lucky Brand lines.

The company, formerly known as Liz Claiborne Inc., sold off a number of weaker parts of its business over the past few years, such as Claiborne, to lower its debt and focus on improving the performance remaining brands.

Fifth & Pacific posted a loss of $18.8 million, or 17 cents per share, for the quarter, compared with a loss of $214.6 million, or $2.27 per share, last year. Excluding discontinued businesses and other special items, it lost 5 cents per share versus 4 cents per share a year ago. Revenue fell 4.2 percent to $364.6 million. Excluding the businesses it no longer owns, revenue increased 6.6 percent.

Analysts, who generally exclude one-time items, expected a loss of 6 cents per share and revenue of $369.4 million, according to FactSet.

Fifth & Pacific's said gains in its Kate Spade and Lucky Brand businesses helped offset continued weakness in Juicy Couture, its biggest brand. Revenue from its Juicy business fell nearly 6 percent. It rose 11 percent for Lucky and 35 percent for Kate Spade.

The company sells its products in its own stores and through other retailers. It reported that revenue from its Juicy stores open at least a year, considered a key indicator of a retailer's financial performance as it strips away recently opened or closed stores, was flat. That compares with gains of 5 percent at Lucky stores and a 22 percent increase at Kate Spade.

Fifth & Pacific warned investors earlier this month that it was struggling to turn around business at Juicy Couture and lowered its full-year forecast.

Fifth & Pacific rose 80 cents, or 7.8 percent, to $11.05 in afternoon trading.