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Kate Spade Buoys Fifth & Pacific

The company once known as Liz Claiborne reaffirmed its 2013 forecast for adjusted EBITDA of between $120 million to $150 million.

Fifth & Pacific Cos. Inc. on Thursday posted fourth-quarter and full-year results.

This story first appeared in the February 22, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

For the three months ended Dec. 29, net income was $57 million, or 47 cents a diluted share, from $229.2 million, or $1.91, a year ago. On an adjusted basis for both periods, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $69 million versus $56 million a year ago.

Net sales for the quarter rose 8.8 percent to $486.5 million from $447.1 million. The sales figures represent in part an increase in its Kate Spade business, partially offset by a decline in the Juicy Couture operation.

By business segment, Juicy sales fell 4.4 percent in the quarter to $153.6 million, while Lucky Brand sales rose 0.4 percent to $137.4 million. Kate Spade sales jumped 56.8 percent to $172.7 million, including a $16 million contribution from the acquisition of Kate Spade Japan.

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For the year, the company posted a net loss of $74.5 million, or 68 cents, on a net sales decrease of 0.9 percent to $1.51 billion.

William L. McComb, chief executive officer, said, “2012 brought industry leading growth at Kate Spade and a significant improvement in performance at Lucky Brand. While progress in these two businesses was tempered by a miss in North America at Juicy Couture, we are optimistic that we are correcting the underlying issues at Juicy under the direction of its new ceo, Paul Blum.”

The company also reaffirmed its 2013 forecast for adjusted EBITDA of between $120 million to $150 million, a guidance that the firm first noted in January when it provided preliminary fourth-quarter sales estimates.

Earlier this month, LeAnn Nealz decided to leave her position as president and chief creative officer at Juicy. Her last day is March 1. She joined the brand, still best known for its tracksuits, in November 2010.

McComb, in a conference call to Wall Street analysts, said that while Nealz is leaving the company with a “much-improved brand imagery, we still have real work to do this year on product assortment.” He also said that Blum will have some announcement within a two-to-six-week time period, but declined to elaborate further. Later in the call the suggestion was that it might involve Nealz’s successor.

Shares of Fifth & Pacific rose 0.9 percent to $17.46 in trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.