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Kate Spade profit beats as demand for luxury handbags rises

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May 7 (Reuters) - Kate Spade & Co reported better-than-expected quarterly sales and profit as its quirky styles and vibrant colors attracted shoppers looking for trendy handbags.

The company also said on Thursday that it was partnering with Exclusive Brands International to expand its kate spade new york luxury brand in Latin America.

Exclusive Brands manages Ralph Lauren stores in Latin America and also has a joint venture with Kate Spade's rival Michael Kors Holdings Ltd in the region.

Kate Spade has been working on offering handbags and accessories that are markedly different from those made by larger rivals Michael Kors and Coach Inc.

Kate Spade's newer collections include handbags with designs and shapes modeled on animals and birds such as elephants and flamingoes.

The company's sales in North America, which accounts for more than three-quarters of its revenue, rose 19.4 percent in the first quarter.

Same-store sales, including online sales, rose 9 percent. Analysts on average had expected a 7.3 percent rise, according to research firm Consensus Metrix.

Kate Spade, however, reported a net loss of $55.2 million, or 43 cents per share, for the quarter ended April 4 as it took a $26 million charge to terminate contracts with a former joint venture partner in China.

The company had reported a net income of $46.2 million, or 37 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Excluding items, Kate Spade earned 3 cents per share.

Revenue rose 14 percent to $255.3 million.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 2 cents per share and sales of $244.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)