Jones Cuts Q4 Loss, Beats Estimates

Revenues fall 7.4 percent, miss Wall Street's view.

The Jones Group Inc. reduced its fourth-quarter loss despite a 7.4 percent drop in revenues for the period.

This story first appeared in the February 11, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In what is likely to be its final full-year filing of financial results before its acquisition by affiliates of Sycamore Partners, now expected to be completed in the second quarter, the company experienced reductions in revenue in all but one of its six business segments. The biggest declines came in the domestic wholesale sportswear and domestic wholesale jeans divisions.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, the firm’s net loss receded to $44.6 million, or 61 cents a diluted share, from a loss of $78.1 million, or $1.06, in the 2012 period. Eliminating charges for impairment, mostly related to its U.S. sportswear and international retail businesses, as well as a tax benefit in the most recent quarter, adjusted earnings per share were 19 cents, 7 cents better than the 12-cent profit expected, on average, by analysts.

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The decline in revenues, to $888.9 million from $959.7 million, included an 8.5 percent drop in net sales, to $876.5 million from $958.3 million. Analysts expected revenues of $915.9 million. Gross margin increased to 36.1 percent of revenues from 34.6 percent in the year-ago period.

“Our domestic retail, domestic wholesale footwear and accessories, and international retail businesses achieved the largest operating improvements,” said Wesley Card, chief executive officer of Jones. “Our sportswear business remained more challenging and promotional, although we are encouraged with our overall turnaround efforts in this business.”

For the quarter, domestic wholesale sportswear revenues fell 18.4 percent to $134.4 million and domestic wholesale jeans sales were down 18.7 percent to $169.5 million. Domestic wholesale footwear and accessories, Jones’ largest business segment, had a sales decline of 2.3 percent to $203.8 million, while domestic retail was down 7.6 percent to $153.4 million.

In the international arena, wholesale declined 9.2 percent to $78.9 million, while retail increased 10.8 percent to $137.4 million.

Domestic sportswear and domestic retail had operating losses of $14.7 million and $5.7 million, respectively, while jeanswear, footwear and accessories, international wholesale and international retail had operating profits of $8.2 million, $12.1 million, $7.4 million and $8.5 million, respectively.

Sycamore agreed to acquire Jones for $2.2 billion, or $15 a share, in December. Due to the pending transaction, the company did not hold a conference call to discuss the results.

For the full year, the firm’s net loss was cut to $19.1 million, or 26 cents a share, from a loss of $54.3 million, or 72 cents, from the previous year. Revenues declined 0.9 percent to $3.76 billion.