VF Corporation (vfc.com) has announced record results for the first quarter of 2008. The first quarter revenues rose 10% to $1,846.3 million, compared with $1,673.6 million in the first quarter of 2007. Income from continuing operations in the current quarter increased 11% to a record $149.0 million, compared with $134.1 million in the prior year's quarter. Earnings per share from continuing operations rose 14% in the first quarter, to a record $1.33 from $1.17 last year. The benefit from foreign currency translation was $.09 per share in the current quarter.

The total revenue from the Outdoor coalition rose 18% with double-digit growth in both domestic and international businesses. The North Face, Vans, Kipling and Napapijri brands each posted double-digit revenue gains in the quarter. Operating income rose 26%, with operating margins rising a full percentage point to 16.6%. Revenues from the Jeanswear coalition, which includes Wrangler, Lee and Riders brands, declined 6% during the quarter.

International jeans revenues rose 6% reflecting the benefit of foreign currency translation. VF Group achieved strong growth in Asia, Mexico and Latin America, with double-digit revenue increases on a constant-currency basis in each market. Total revenues of the Sportswear coalition, which includes Nautica and John Varvatos brands as well as the Kipling brand in North America, declined 11% in the quarter. As anticipated, Nautica brand revenues declined, primarily due to a customer's decision last year to reduce their assortment of Nautica products, as well as lower sales in off-price channels. Recently, the company decided to discontinue Nautica women's wholesale sportswear business to focus resources on building the core men's sportswear, licensed and direct-to-consumer businesses. This decision resulted in expenses of $3 million in the quarter and should result in savings of approximately $3 million in the second half of 2008. Contemporary Brands coalition, which consists of the 7 For All Mankind and Lucy brands added $96 million to first quarter revenues and $15 million to operating income.

VF corporation runs a total of 641 owned retail stores. Operating margins rose to 13.2% in the quarter, up from 12.9% in the first quarter of 2007. Gross margins increased to 45.1% from 43.5%, reflecting efficiency gains in the global jeanswear business. VF announced also to open 15 to 20 new stores in the Outdoor coalition.

Photo: A look from the AW08/09 Lee girls collection, part of the VF family