NEW YORK — As top-line growth soars, The J. Crew Group also is showing signs of operating strength and improved gross margins driven by more full-priced selling.
For the first quarter ended April 30, the purveyor of casual apparel on Thursday said net income for the three months was $5 million, which is against a loss of $24 million in the same year-ago period. Revenues jumped 44.5 percent to $211 million from $146 million.
"We are pleased with our first-quarter results with a comp-store sales increase of 37 percent and significant growth in our Direct business. Our continuing focus on quality, style and design, along with endless attention to our customers' needs, is reflected in J. Crew's performance," said Millard Drexler, chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.
Same-store sales in the year-ago quarter rose just 4 percent.
The ceo noted that the "scarcity of our merchandise in last year's first quarter also helped contribute to this quarter's strong comp performance."
The company said operating income was $23 million against a $3 million loss in the year-ago quarter. Operating results for the quarter reflect a gross margin increase to 46 percent in 2005 from 42 percent in 2004, helped by increased full-price selling and leverage on fixed buying and occupancy costs.
Retail sales, including factory stores, climbed 40 percent to $146 million from $104 million last year, boosted by a same-store sales gain of 37 percent. Sales of the Direct business — Internet and catalogue — skyrocketed 59 percent to $59 million versus $37 million last year.
J. Crew said inventory on April 30 was $105 million, up 24 percent from a year ago. The inventory gain is consistent with the strong sales performance as well as the conservative inventory strategy in last year's comparable quarter.
Also helping the bottom line was a decline in selling, general and administrative expenses. SGA for the quarter was $74 million, or 35 percent of revenues, versus last year's $64 million, or 44 percent of revenues.
At the end of the quarter, the company operated 157 retail stores, up three from the same 2004 quarter, and 41 factory stores, one less than a year ago.The retailer is scheduled to hold a conference call with analysts and investors today.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews