While coming in better than management’s low expectations, G-III Apparel Group Ltd. (Nasdaq:GIII) reported net income for the fiscal first quarter fell 58.8 percent.
The warm winter weather impacted sales of the company’s sizeable outerwear segment while its specialty businesses, including the Wilsons Leather and G.H. Bass & Co. chain, continued to struggle.
On the positive, Morris Goldfarb, G-III’s Chairman, CEO and president, said the rest of the company’s wholesale business, which includes its fan apparel business, “transcended the tough environment in the first quarter and is gaining momentum.”
Earnings in the quarter reached $2.8 million, or 6 cents a share, exceeding guidance on March 22 forecasting earnings in the range of break even to 5 cents a share.
Revenues grew 5.6 percent to $457.4 million.
Net sales of its wholesale operation segment increased 8.5 percent to $382 million, primarily as a result of increased sales of Calvin Klein licensed product, with the largest increases occurring in women’s suits, women’s outerwear and handbags, as well as increased sales of Ivanka Trump product.
The increase was also the result of net sales of its new Karl Lagerfeld license products and its Tommy Hilfiger dress line.
Goldfarb said the strength of G-III’s overall wholesale line is evident at Macy’s, where the company saw a 13-percent gain and retail sell throughs continued at a strong double-digit rate. He said, “We are seeing this kind of outperformance broadly in department stores because, simply, our product represents good value for consumers.”
Goldfarb said the Team Sports order book “is filling out well, led by the NFL again this year.” He said the company is “especially excited about the growth prospects” of Hands High by Jimmy Fallon, which places a team’s logo under the wearer’s armpit. Said Goldfarb, “We are launching the product in over 40 universities this fall holiday season following our launch of product for professional sports leagues last fall.”
Team Sports represents its fan apparel business that features G-III Sports by Carl Banks, including Starter jackets, as well as Touch by Alyssa Milano.
The CEO said the company continues to see double-digit gains overall in its non-outerwear wholesale businesses for the year, which is expected to offset a planned decline in the mid-single digits in outerwear for the upcoming fall/winter season.
Net sales of the retail operation segment decreased 6.9 percent to $95 million, primarily due to decreases of 13.6 percent in Wilson same-store sales and a decrease of 5.1 percent in GH Bass same-store sales.
Gross margins increased to 36.2 percent compared to 35.7 percent in the prior year’s period. Wholesale gross margins increased to 32.5 percent from 30.4 percent in last year’s quarter, mainly the result of an increase in gross profit of its Calvin Klein licensed products, primarily women’s dresses and sportswear, as well as improved margins at the Jessica Howard and Eliza J dress business. Gross margins in its retail operation segment eroded to 43.5 percent compared to 46.2 percent, driven by offering deeper discounts in order to sell excess inventory.
Total SG&A expenses increased to 33.4 percent from 31.6 percent a year ago.
The company reiterated its prior guidance for the year ending January 31, 2017 with earnings expected to bounce back in the back half of the year. Earnings are expected to land at $2.46 per share, slightly up from $2.44 on an adjusted basis a year ago. Sales are expected to reach $2.56 billion, up from $2.34 billion.
For its second fiscal quarter, earnings are expected to decline in the range of 15 to 19 cents a share, down from 27 cents a year ago. Sales are expected to climb to $485 million from $473.9 million a year ago.