NEW YORK — G-III Apparel Group Ltd., which has successfully transformed into a broad-based apparel company, looks to continue its growth and diversification strategy over the next several years.
Speaking at the company’s annual meeting Tuesday, Morris Goldfarb, chairman and chief executive officer, said the company is interested in practically any fashion category.
“As we go forward, our capabilities have advanced to the point where our opportunity set is not limited by category, gender, tier of distribution, price point or geography. I believe that, as an organization, we have come to a point where we believe we can do just about anything we set our minds to in this industry,” said Goldfarb.
He noted that the company is in a good position to evaluate strategic acquisitions, given that its balance sheet remains healthy with little long-term debt.
Having diversified beyond outerwear, the company seeks to build in a number of important categories. Goldfarb spoke about the success the company has had since launching dresses five years ago. In fiscal 2008, G-III shipped about $30 million in dresses. By fiscal 2013, it shipped more than $300 million in dresses. Today, G-III’s dresses can be found in more than 1,200 department store doors in the U.S. “These efforts have quickly made us one of the largest dress companies in the industry,” he said. The ceo believes the company’s sportswear, suit, performance and handbag businesses are poised for similar success.
Goldfarb cited the company’s key partnership with the Calvin Klein organization and its parent, PVH Corp. In fact, Goldfarb introduced Allen Sirkin, who retired as president and chief operating officer of PVH last June, and was elected to G-III’s board on Tuesday.
Goldfarb noted that brand value is critical, especially when they contemplate entering new categories. That was one of the things that attracted G-III to its latest acquisition, Vilebrequin. Goldfarb said the brand has given the company “instant legitimacy” in the swim category.
Goldfarb is also enthusiastic about the Ivanka Trump brand for dresses, sportswear and swimwear. He noted that the NFL business performed better than in any recent year. He also cited the progress that Wilsons has made. When the firm acquired Wilsons in 2008, it was losing money and generating sales of $250 a square foot. The chain is now “significantly profitable,” and sales are at $350 a square foot and growing, said Goldfarb, adding the plan is to open more stores. At its peak as an independent company, Wilsons supported more than 700 locations. Today, it operates 150 stores. “There is clearly a considerable opportunity to grow this business again,” said Goldfarb.
For the quarter ended April 30, G-III registered net income of $1 million. This came against a loss of $847,000 in the year-ago period. This was the first time that G-III has had a profitable first quarter, which Goldfarb attributed to strong outerwear sales because of the cool weather during the quarter and gross margin improvement in “our nonouterwear wholesale business and our retail operations.” Aided by the addition of Vilebrequin in August and strong performance from its extensive portfolio of Calvin Klein licenses, sales rose 18.8 percent to $272.6 million from $229.4 million in the year-ago quarter.
The strong showing prompted G-III to raise guidance for the year. It now expects earnings per share of between $3.20 and $3.30, versus its earlier expectation of between $3.10 and $3.20, and sales of about $1.57 billion, up from previous guidance of $1.55 billion.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast