Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday upgraded Jones Apparel Group Inc. by one notch on its liquidity rating, which remained in speculative grade territory.
Moody's moved Jones to "SGL-1" from "SGL-2" and affirmed all other ratings. Moody's said the rating outlook remains "Stable."
The upgrade in its liquidity rating is based on the New York company's improving operating margins, more efficient use of working capital and lower planned capital expenditures. Moody's said Jones Apparel would maintain a substantial existing cash balance in fiscal 2010, meaning it will have little need to dip into existing available credit.
It now has about $160 million cash on hand, Moody's said.
The agency also said the company had nothing currently outstanding under its revolver loan.
Jones shares fell 23 cents to $17.87 in midday trading.