Joe’s Jeans Moves Into Black in Fourth Quarter

Jeanswear company reversed a small year-ago loss to post a higher-than-expected profit in the period.

Joe's Jeans flagship on Melrose Place.

Joe’s Jeans Inc. reversed a small year-ago loss to post a higher-than-expected profit in the fourth quarter as both wholesale and retail revenues raced past recently issued guidance.

Marc Crossman, president and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles-based premium jeanswear company, said the turnaround resulted from growth “in both our wholesale and retail divisions and from both our men’s and women’s product offerings.”

In the three months ended Nov. 30, net income was $2 million, or 3 cents a diluted share, versus a net loss of $268,000, or zero cents, in the 2011 period. EPS exceeded the analysts’ consensus estimate by 1 cent.

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Revenues advanced 32.9 percent to $33.7 million from $25.4 million in the 2011 period with wholesale revenues up 37.3 percent to $26.8 million, including a $2.4 million contribution from the fledgling Else brand, available exclusively at Macy’s stores. Retail sales moved ahead 18.3 percent to $7 million with the addition of four full-price and two outlet stores, lifting the company total to 28, and a same-store sales increase of 6 percent.

Gross margin improved to 46.6 percent of sales from 46.1 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Crossman noted that Else had expanded to 314 Macy’s doors after its initial rollout to about 150 doors last spring.

Additional growth is expected to come from the expansion of its own retail network, projected to add about 10 full-price units in 2013.

During a conference call with analysts, Crossman pointed out that the company adopted a smaller footprint for its stores and was seeing improvements in productivity that more than compensated for the smaller spaces. Previously its stores averaged about 2,200 square feet and yielded sales per square foot of about $430. The new stores average about 1,500 square feet, and “some are close to $700 a square foot,” the ceo said. “It’s definitely what we’re looking for.”

For the full year, net income tallied $5.6 million, or 8 cents a diluted share, against a loss of $1.4 million, or 2 cents, in 2011. Sales were up 24.3 percent to $118.6 million.

The quarterly and full-year sales results both exceeded estimates provided by the company on Jan. 15.

Shares Thursday advanced 1 cent, or 0.7 percent, to $1.47 and picked up 8 cents, or 5.4 percent, to $1.55 in the early stages of after-hours trading.