By  on September 4, 2009

G-III Apparel Group Ltd. narrowed its second-quarter loss from a year ago and beat analysts’ expectations.

For the three months ended July 31, the net loss was $2.8 million, or 17 cents a share, versus a loss of $3.9 million, or 23 cents, in the year-ago quarter. According to Yahoo Finance, the consensus estimate of analysts was a loss of 26 cents a share.

Sales gained 19.8 percent to $135.9 million from $113.5 million.

The company said the improved bottom-line performance “occurred notwithstanding the seasonal losses associated with the company’s Wilsons retail outlet business, which were only included for three weeks in the year-ago results.” G-III in July 2008 acquired the Wilsons The Leather Experts Inc. name and the operations at 116 outlet stores for $22.3 million.

“We saw strong results from our dress and sportswear businesses,” said Morris Goldfarb, chairman and chief executive officer. “At the same time, we built our order book to expected levels and are positioned well for the upcoming fall season in outerwear, dresses, sportswear and suits.”

Goldfarb said the company’s inventory is in “good shape” and the expectation is for a “good second-half performance” in its wholesale business.

“We also believe that we have made appropriate changes to the merchandise mix at our Wilsons outlet stores in order to increase our sales and productivity during the important holiday retail season,” Goldfarb said. “We believe Wilsons has an opportunity to see considerably improved performance compared to last year.”

Goldfarb emphasized the firm, once known more for its outerwear, is committed to the long-term goal being an all-season diversified apparel company. G-III has been investing in its sportswear, dress and suit businesses, and also is focused on streamlining its infrastructure.

For the six months, the loss was $9.6 million, or 57 cents, compared with a loss of $10.7 million, or 65 cents, in the first half of the previous year. Sales rose 28.9 percent to $243.5 million from $188.9 million.

The company said for the year ending Jan. 31, 2010, it expects income of $16.6 million to $18.4 million, or 95 cents to $1.05 a diluted share, on sales of $770 million. G-III added that earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the period will increase 10 percent to 18 percent to between $40.2 and $43.2 million.

The New York-based firm owns the Andrew Marc label and manufactures and markets outerwear, dresses and other apparel under licensed brands, including Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Guess and Tommy Hilfiger, in addition to a number of sports, college and entertainment entities.

G-III reported results after the close of the markets on Thursday. Earlier, shares rose 77 cents, or 5.1 percent, to $15.93. Their range in the past 52 weeks is $3.24 on March 4 to $20.58 on Sept. 19.

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