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WF Van Casper Reiterates Strong Buy on Polo Ralph Lauren

WF Van Casper reiterated its strong buy rating on upscale retailer Polo Ralph Lauren (RL) after the company posted second quarter earnings per share of $0.52 from operations on 2% higher net revenue. The company also reaffirmed estimates of third quarter earnings per share of $0.42-$0.46 and of $1.65-$1.75 for fiscal year 2002.

Analyst Jennifer Black said the second quarter earnings per share was $0.01 above consensus. She was extremely pleased with performance during the challenging time, particularly on the wholesale side. She says that the domestic men's wholesale business had solid growth and that European wholesale sales grew in double digits. She still thinks European business could reach $1 billion in revenues within the next 3-5 years. Black notes that the company continues to make significant strides toward improving supply-chain management. She is maintaining her third quarter earnings per share estimate of $0.44, her fourth quarter estimate of $0.38 and her fiscal year 2002 estimate of $1.65.

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