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G-III Shares Down on Tepid Profit Forecast

Fourth-quarter and full-year profits surpass Wall Street expectations.

Shares of G-III Apparel Group Ltd. fell 8 percent, to $68.51, as Nasdaq trading opened Tuesday after the company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profits but provided guidance that fell below analysts’ estimates.

For the three months ended Jan. 31, the New York-based marketer of outerwear and sportswear registered net income of $13.1 million, or 62 cents a diluted share, 61.8 percent above the $8.1 million, or 40 cents, logged during the final quarter of 2012.

Bolstered by the acquisition of G.H. Bass from PVH Corp., revenues were up 26 percent to $472.8 million from $375.3 million in the prior-year period. Gross margin rose to 35.2 percent of sales from 31.4 percent in the 2012 quarter.

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On average, analysts expected EPS of 49 cents on revenues of $489.9 million.

For the full year, net income rose 36 percent to $77.4 million, or $3.71 a diluted share, while revenues rose 22.8 percent to $1.72 billion. Eliminating the effects of the acquisitions in the past two years, EPS would have been $3.74, up from $2.92.

Summarizing the year, Morris Goldfarb, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, “We continued to grow at a fast pace, executed our strategic plan for Vilebrequin, acquired G.Bass & Co. and produced both strong sales growth and increased profitability. We are pleased to have performed well through the year and finished up fiscal 2014 with record-breaking results for sales and earnings.”

Vilebrequin was acquired in late 2012 and Bass in the final quarter of 2013.

On a conference call, Goldfarb said that the company’s interest in acquisitions remains strong. “We have access to capital, the skill set and the drive to build on what is already a strong track record of success in the M&A market,” he told analysts. “We believe we can drive meaningful improvement into an already strong business, like we’re doing with Vilebrequin. We believe we can also take a business that is struggling and give it the help it needs to shine. We’ve done this with Wilsons and expect to accomplish this with Bass.”

Despite weather-related weakness in January, the Wilsons retail business generated a 9 percent increase in comparable sales on top of a 12 percent increase in the 2012 quarter.

The company’s earnings guidance for the first quarter fell well short of early estimates. The company now expects a loss of between 10 and 20 cents a diluted share in the period, versus a previous consensus estimate of a profit of 4 cents a share, and full-year profits of between $3.95 and $4.10 a diluted share, versus Wall Street estimates for $4.30 a share.

Revenue forecasts aligned more closely with analysts’ expectations, with the first quarter expected to result in sales of $346 million, slightly above the $345.6 million consensus estimate, and full-year revenues pegged at $2.05 billion, just below the current $2.1 billion consensus estimate.

During the call, company officials attributed the projected first-quarter loss to efforts aimed at turning around G.H. Bass retail operations.