VF Corp. delivered a fourth-quarter earnings gain of 51.4 percent, which is against a tough macroeconomic backdrop that contributed to weakness in its Nautica sportswear business.
Net income, driven by the firm's jeanswear and outdoor businesses, weighed in at $164.4 million, or $1.46 a diluted share, which compared with $108.6 million, or 95 cents, a year earlier. Revenues for the three months ended Dec. 31 jumped 22.3 percent to $2 billion from $1.6 billion.
Despite the profit boost, which outpaced the $1.42 a share Wall Street had penciled in for the quarter, the Greensboro, N.C.-based firm is treading cautiously into 2008.
"There is no question that the current environment is very challenging," said president and chief executive officer Eric Wiseman on a conference call with investors and analysts Tuesday after the market closed. "We are coming off a highly promotional holiday season and our customers are planning very cautiously for 2008."
The company has not seen any unusual delay in orders, nor has skittishness sullied VF's international businesses.
In the jeanswear division, home to the Lee and Wrangler brands, quarterly profits increased 12.7 percent to $112.8 million, which is on a 3.1 percent boost in sales to $722 million. U.S. revenues were flat in the division, though the mass market business saw a 5 percent top-line increase for the quarter.
Earnings in the outdoor division leapt 42.6 percent to $94.6 million, on a 31.6 percent increase in sales to $595.5 million. Profits in the imagewear division rose 5.9 percent to $43.8 million as sales gained 20.1 percent to $277.3 million.
In VF's sportswear division, price promotions, particularly in its Nautica outlet stores, ate into profits, which fell 28.8 percent to $20 million as sales rose 5.7 percent to $208.5 million.
The new contemporary brands unit, which includes Seven For All Mankind and Lucy, drew profits of $20 million out of $109.6 million in sales.
For the full year, VF posted a 10.9 percent rise in net income to $591.6 million, or $5.22 a share, versus $533.5 million, or $4.72, in 2006. Sales hit $7.2 billion, a 16.1 percent jump from $6.2 billion a year earlier."We are not planning any big recovery in 2008," said Wiseman. "We have taken into account the difficult environment and planned accordingly."
The company is looking for 9 percent sales growth this year, without taking into account any possible acquisitions, as well as a 10 percent bump in earnings per share from continuing operations.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast