Buckle Inc. stood out in the third quarter, and although its earnings and sales gains were relatively modest, a new special dividend to shareholders wasn’t.
The quarter wasn’t quite as kind to American Eagle Outfitters Inc., where net income slid, or Sears Holding Corp., which posted wider losses as apparel sales waned at its namesake division.
Buckle’s profits for the quarter advanced 3.2 percent to $34.4 million, or 73 cents a diluted share, from $33.3 million, or 71 cents, a year earlier. Sales advanced 5.2 percent to $243.3 million from $231.2 million.
Earnings per share topped analysts’ expectations by 4 cents and Buckle’s board decided to spread some of the wealth around by authorizing a special dividend of $2.50 for shareholders of record as of Dec. 3.
American Eagle’s profits sank 44.2 percent to $33 million, or 17 cents a diluted share, from $59.2 million, or 28 cents, a year earlier. Sales climbed 2.1 percent to $751.5 million from $736 million. Excluding a loss realized on the sale of investment securities, adjusted profits of 29 cents a share were in line with Wall Street’s expectations.
The retailer also said it would stop reporting monthly sales next year.
Losses attributable to Sears widened to $218 million, or $1.98 a diluted share, from $127 million, or $1.09, a year earlier. Revenues slipped 5 percent to $9.68 billion from $10.19 billion. In the firm’s U.S. operations, comparable-store sales at Kmart slipped 0.7 percent, while Sears suffered an 8.2 percent decline.
“While Kmart improved profitability, our third quarter results were disappointing, in large part due to lower sales of apparel and appliances at Sears,” said W. Bruce Johnson, Sears’ interim chief executive officer and president. “Our seasonal apparel sales were down, with the unusually warm weather being a contributing factor.”
The fiscal third quarter ended on Oct. 30 for all three companies.
For complete coverage, see Friday’s issue of WWD.