NEW YORK — Reebok International Ltd. is beginning to see signs of a turnaround in its apparel business.
In the first quarter ended March 31, worldwide apparel sales grew 13 percent to $279.4 million from $247 million, the athletic giant said Monday.
“During the quarter, U.S. branded apparel gross margins improved as compared with last year’s first quarter,” Kenneth Watchmaker, Reebok’s chief financial officer, said in a conference call with analysts. “This is a result of focusing our efforts for U.S. branded apparel on the quality rather than the quantity of the business, which resulted in improving pricing margins and fewer closeouts.”
The company’s apparel business remains driven by licensed sport products such as team jerseys, sales of which were up in the double-digits, the company said. But, while apparel margins were up over last year, the company said they still weren’t as high as footwear.
The athletic giant’s total income for the three-month period rose 5.2 percent to $43.2 million, or 70 cents a share, from $41.1 million, or 63 cents, and was ahead of analysts’ expectations of 69 cents. Sales grew by 11.2 percent to $925 million, with gains posted across most of its divisions and selling channels.
Sales in the quarter were led by high-technology sneakers, running merchandise, Rbk products and robust sales internationally.
“Our Rbk products and marketing platform, which we launched three years ago, has successfully introduced Reebok in a younger and fresher way,” Watchmaker said on the call. “Many of our new technology products, such as the Pump, contain the Rbk branding.”
Sales also were helped by results of The Hockey Co., which Reebok purchased a year ago, as well as favorable foreign currency exchange fluctuations, said Paul Fireman, Reebok’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.
Reebok brand worldwide sales grew 12 percent to $783 million, while sales in its other divisions, including Greg Norman, Rockport and Ralph Lauren footwear, were up 5 percent to $142 million. Internationally, sales of footwear products grew 22 percent, while apparel gained 11 percent. The company also noted on the call that average selling prices increased internationally, but were down in the domestic market.In the quarter, the company significantly increased its advertising spending on its new integrated campaign, “I Am What I Am,” which is the company’s largest marketing effort in about 10 years and features Reebok-sponsored athletes as well as entertainers such as Jay-Z. This campaign is slated to continue for two years.
Investors reacted well to the results, sending Reebok shares up 61 cents, or 1.45 percent to $42.64 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews