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It's women and children first at Ralph Lauren

NEW YORK — Helped by solid sales of women's and childrenswear in its wholesale business, and stronger same-store sales in its stores, second quarter profits at Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. jumped 48.9 percent, to $80.4 million from $54 million last year.

Sales at the designer's business empire jumped 24.9 percent, to $883.7 million from $707.8 million a year ago.

Making the big difference at the top and bottom lines,the company started selling the women's Lauren by Ralph Lauren line, as well childrenswear products, on its own through its large wholesale business, rather than licensing the name out as it has in the past.

While it grew wholesale numbers by bringing women's and children's inside, licensing revenues took a corresponding hit as royalty payments for those lines dried up, falling 16.6 percent, to $62.1 million from $74.5 million. Included in licensing fees are royalties paid by WestPoint Stevens on the Ralph Lauren Home program.

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