Jones Group to shut 170 U.S. stores, cut 800 jobs

The company that owns the Nine West chain,

The company that owns the Nine West chain, like this one at Broadway and Prince Street in Manhattan, says it will be closing 170 U.S. stores and laying off about 800 employees. The Jones Group, which owns Easy Spirit and Jones New York as well as Nine West, gave no specifics. (April 24, 2013) (Credit: Charles Eckert)

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Jones Group, a clothing, shoes and accessories maker that owns chains including Nine West and Easy Spirit, Wednesday said it's closing 170 U.S. stores and slashing jobs as part of a plan to improve profitability.

A Jones Group spokeswoman said 8 percent of the company's 10,000 jobs will be cut, or about 800 U.S. positions. The company did not disclose which stores would be closed.

With Easy Spirit, Jones New York and Nine West, the Jones Group operates nine full-price stores and outlets on Long Island.

The Manhattan-based company, which also sells its products through department stores, has had stagnant sales, and it posted a loss last year. Its sportswear lines and its own stores run lots of discounts.

Because of more markdowns, Jones Group said it expects adjusted earnings per share for the first quarter to fall by about half, from 31 cents the year before to 15 cents this year. Analysts had predicted earnings of 25 cents per share.

For the second quarter, it expects revenue between $820 million and $850 million; analysts had predicted $901.8 million.

Jones Group had 594 stores at the end of 2012, having closed 106 stores last year. Outlets will account for a far greater percentage of stores after the plan is carried out, the company said. It is also considering converting some stores to more profitable brands and consolidating factories.

The moves should save about $40 million per year, before taxes, by the middle of 2014. The closures should be done by the middle of next year.

With Newsday reporter Keiko Morris

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