Inclement weather and thrifty consumers took their toll on January sales.
Providing a quarterly update, Kohl’s Corp. lowered its fourth-quarter earnings guidance to about $1.53 a diluted share, from earlier estimates of a range of $1.59 to $1.74, as weakness in January led it to a 2 percent same-store sales decline in the November-to-January period. Comps were up 0.8 percent during November and December.
“January sales were significantly lower than planned as a result of lower traffic and low levels of clearance merchandise,” the company said. “Unanticipated expenses in servicing its e-commerce business led to higher-than-expected costs for the quarter.”
The small sample of retailers continuing to report comparable sales on a monthly basis generally checked in with negative results, although two of the biggest – L Brands Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. – reported larger-than-expected increases.
L Brands lifted its fourth-quarter guidance after recording a 9 percent increase in comps for the month, including a 10 percent burst at Victoria’s Secret. However, the firm noted that its merchandise margins were down “significantly to last year, driven by deeper discounting and extended sale durations across our businesses.” Year-end inventories were up 9 percent per square foot.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected L Brands to report a comp increase of 0.5 percent, making for a substantial “beat." Costco reported a 5 percent increase in U.S. comps, excluding fuel, versus an expected boost of 4.8 percent.
Gap Inc. will report January results after the close of the markets today.
Stein Mart Inc., expected to post a flat comp, instead reported a 0.7 percent decline, lowering its fourth-quarter comp growth to 3.1 percent. Jay Stein, chief executive officer, said, “Our January sales were clearly impacted by the severe weather throughout most of the country. Factoring this out, our sales results for January were consistent with our performance through year-to-date December.” Sales grew 3.9 percent on a comp basis during the first 11 months of the fiscal year.
Teen retail’s struggles continued during the month, with both The Buckle Inc. and Zumiez Inc. falling well short of estimates with respective declines of 6.6 and 7.6 percent. Buckle had been expected to post a 1.2 percent pullback and Zumiez a 3.5 percent contraction.
A number of stores are expected, like Kohl’s, to provide quarterly updates for investors today. The Wet Seal Inc. said its fourth-quarter comp declines hit double-digit levels in the quarter, with corporate comps down 16.5 percent, the Wet Seal brand down 15.4 percent and the Arden B unit down 25 percent.
However, Ann Inc. said that its fourth-quarter comps expanded 3 percent with a 1 percent decline at the Ann Taylor brand offset by 6 percent growth at Loft.
“The company’s sales, gross margin and EPS for the fourth quarter of 2013 will be higher than the fourth quarter of 2012,” said Kay Krill, president and ceo of Ann Inc. “However, soft traffic and tepid consumer spending across the industry negatively impacted us, particularly in factory outlet centers and geographic regions that experienced extreme winter weather.”
She added that the company began the new fiscal year this month with “clean inventories and fresh spring product at both brands.”
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)