Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s back-to- basics approach is boosting its apparel business.
The retailer’s U.S. division posted the first full year of positive comp sales in apparel in seven years in 2012. Wal-Mart U.S. chief executive officer Bill Simon said the growth was the result of a new apparel strategy focused more on basics and essentials that was put in place more than a year ago.
“This quarter, we posted low-single digit positive comps driven by the improved quality of our offering,” he said.
Jewelry posted the best comps of the year during the holiday season.
The improved results in apparel and jewelry came despite softer overall sales in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 26 that continued into the start of February. On Thursday, Wal-Mart reported that net income in the quarter rose 8.6 percent to $5.61 billion, or $1.67 a diluted share, from $5.16 billion, or $1.50, in the comparable 2011 period. Revenues rose 3.9 percent, to $127.92 billion from $123.17 billion. Same-store sales were at the low end of Wal-Mart’s guidance, up 1 percent in U.S. stores, lower than the 1.5 percent increase registered in the year-ago quarter.
For the full fiscal year, net income rose 8.3 percent to $17 billion, or $5.02 a diluted share, from $15.7 billion, or $4.52. Revenues increased 5 percent to $469.16 billion from $446.95 billion.
Wal-Mart’s gains in the fourth quarter were aided by a lower than expected effective tax rate. Wal-Mart president and ceo Mike Duke said the company’s goals include strengthening the U.S. business, improving International’s returns, greater efficiency through disciplined capital allocation, investing in global e-commerce and, in a reference to the retailer’s alleged corruption scandal in Mexico and possibly other foreign markets, continuing to strengthen Wal-Mart’s compliance organization.
Compliance, according to Duke, is “non-negotiable.” He said the retailer’s compliance programs “significantly improved around the world in fiscal 2013. We’ve spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars with compliance experts on anticorruption support and training,” he said.
The retailer said same-store sales are expected to be flat for the first quarter compared with a 2.6 percent increase in last year’s first quarter.
“February sales started slower than planned, due in large part to the delay in income tax refunds,” Simon said in a prerecorded earnings call.
Wal-Mart expects EPS for fiscal 2014 to range between $5.20 and $5.40.
“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