November 7, 2007, 12:00 AM

Jones Apparel is keeping up with e-commerce

With a new e-commerce executive in place, Jones sees a bigger concentration on online retailing going forward and the launch of more web stores, CEO Wesley R. Card recently told Wall Street analysts.

Jones Apparel Group Inc., which spent most of the summer restructuring under the eye of new CEO Wesley R. Card, will invest more in its e-commerce channel going forward and sees the web as a strong business development opportunity.

In August Jones, No. 303 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, hired Ron Offir, previously the president of e-commerce service provider Kompo e-Commerce Solutions and the former divisional vice president of Coach.com, as president of e-commerce operations.

Now, with a new web executive in place, Jones is beginning to improve its e-commerce sites, including NineWest.com and EasySpirit.com, with faster search and expedited checkout. “There are significant opportunities for our core brands through online retailing,” Card told Wall Street analysts on the company’s recent third quarter earnings call. “In just a few months, Ron Offir has identified some key enhancements that we are implementing quickly.”

Jones is reorganizing to improve productivity and profitability. The company in September completed the sale of Barneys New York Inc. to Istithmar PJSC, a Dubai-based private equity firm, in a deal valued at $945 million. The company also realigned its business operations into more streamlined segments such as wholesale better apparel, wholesale moderate apparel, wholesale footwear, and accessories and retail. With a new focus, Jones is now looking to launch more e-commerce sites. “Looking ahead, we see e-commerce as a much larger business for Jones with the potential of it substantially impacting the bottom line,” Card told analysts. “There are also plans to increase visibility, in other words launching e-commerce sites for other brands, offering greater product selection online and better utilized high return web advertising.”

Jones didn’t offer any specifics and the company does not break out web sales. In Q3 Jones reported net income of $400 million on revenue of $1.01 billion, compared with net income of $63 million on revenue of $1.06 billion in the third quarter of 2006.

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