By  on March 22, 2012

Perry Ellis International Inc. plans to exit businesses with total annual revenues of between $30 million and $40 million as part of its strategic review.

The Miami-based firm, which reported a steep decline in fourth-quarter earnings Thursday, didn’t specify the businesses to be sold or closed, saying it would identify them after their exits were concluded by the end of the new fiscal year next January.

However, the sales figure provided and comments by company executives on the disappointing performance of the Perry Ellis and Rafaella businesses, as well as positive remarks about the contributions of Laundry by Shelli Segal, Original Penguin and the firm’s growing golfwear business, one of the keys to its ongoing relationship with J.C. Penney Co. Inc., appeared to eliminate them from the list of possibilities.

“We do believe there is an opportunity to clarify our business model in order to provide a sharper focus to our teams by carving out smaller brands and businesses that have averaged in total $30 million to $40 million in revenue over the last two years but haven’t contributed substantially in profitability,” Anita Britt, chief financial officer, told analysts during a Thursday morning conference call. She added that the firm had received expressions of interest about a number of its brands.

The company’s portfolio is crowded. In addition to the namesake Perry Ellis brand and several licensed names, it includes 29 owned brands, ranging from legacy labels such as Cubavera to names acquired from various competitors, such as the Laundry and C&C California purchased from Liz Claiborne Inc., and through bankruptcy proceedings such as Anchor Blue and Farah. Many of its nameplates are focused on midtier distribution, although last year’s acquisition of Rafaella and its move earlier this month to market a new designer collection from Duckie Brown under the Perry Ellis by Duckie Brown label demonstrate the firm’s willingness to move upmarket.

Rafaella, which had sales of $23 million in the fourth quarter and contributed $123 million to annual revenues, “delivered very good profits in the first half of the year, but came up short on its projections for the second half,” said George Feldenkreis, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. Although upbeat about new offerings and personnel, he called 2011 “the worst year in recent memory” for Perry Ellis Collection, which required aggressive promotion to move excess inventory.

Britt said the initial estimate for savings from the business exits and associated reductions in costs was $5.5 million, “which we should start to see beginning with fall and fully implemented for fiscal spring 2014.” Onetime costs for those savings will be about $2 million.

On a positive note, Feldenkreis said the company’s direct-to-consumer business was up 20 percent last year, to $72 million from $60 million. “However, opening new stores come at a cost and while we are satisfied with the increase in business on [comparable-store] sales, which went up by 5 percent, the reality is that [selling, general and administrative costs] and initial occupancy expenses require a substantial amount of money in the first year,” he said.

In the three months ended Jan. 28, net income fell 76.9 percent to $1.8 million, or 12 cents a diluted share, from $7.7 million, or 54 cents, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings per share, subtracting the effects of impairment charges, was 38 cents, 1 cent above analysts’ estimates and matching the top of the range of between 35 and 38 cents provided in February, when plans for the strategic view were first disclosed.

Sales for the quarter rose 11.5 percent to $222.1 million from $199.2 million as gross margin declined to 31.4 percent of sales from 35.8 percent.

For the full year, net income rose 4.1 percent, to $25.5 million or $1.60 a diluted share, as sales rose 25.1 percent to $955.5 million.

In preliminary guidance for the new year, the company projected adjusted EPS of $1.95 to $2 on revenues of $990 million to $1 billion.

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