Shares of G-III Apparel Group Ltd. rose more than 7 percent late Monday after the New York-based sportswear firm surprised analysts with a first-quarter profit and lifted guidance for the year.
With gross margin up 400 basis points and same-store sales rising at a double-digit clip, the company registered net income of $1 million, or 5 cents a diluted share, in the three months ended April 30. This came against a loss of $847,000, or 4 cents, in the year-ago period and the analysts’ consensus estimate for a loss of 5 cents for the just-completed period. All eight analysts weighing in on G-III’s results expected a loss.
Aided by the addition of Vilebrequin last August and strong performance from its extensive portfolio of Calvin Klein licenses, sales rose 18.8 percent to $272.6 million from $229.4 million in the year-ago quarter. The consensus was for sales of $267.8 million.
The strong showing prompted G-III to raise guidance for the year. It now expects earnings per share of between $3.20 and $3.30, versus its earlier expectation of between $3.10 and $3.20, and sales of about $1.57 billion, up from previous guidance of $1.55 billion.
Shares closed Monday up 63 cents, or 1.5 percent, at $42.74 but rose $3.05, or 7.1 percent, to $45.79 immediately following the 4 p.m. disclosure of first-quarter results.
“We saw a strong performance across a broad range of categories, particularly with respect to a number of our Calvin Klein products, and from our growing retail operations, which produced double-digit comparable-store sales increases in the quarter,” said Morris Goldfarb, chairman and chief executive officer. “Current booking activity and sell-through rates, as well as positive feedback from our retail customers on our upcoming merchandise programs, give us increased confidence in our full-year outlook.”
Goldfarb cited strength in women’s sportswear, dresses, suits and handbags and said the company was on target for upcoming launches of its Ivanka Trump collection, Calvin Klein men’s and women’s swimwear and women’s swimwear under the Vilebrequin brand.
“Our strategic and diversified approach to growth encompasses multiple brands, both genders and several tiers of retail distribution,” he added.
On a conference call with analysts, Goldfarb noted, “This is the first time in at least 15 years that we have had a profitable first quarter,” pointing to strong outerwear sales because of the cool weather during the quarter and gross margin improvement in “our non-outerwear wholesale business and our Wilsons retail operations.” Same-store sales at Wilsons were up 12.4 percent on top of a 6 percent increase in the first quarter of last year, Goldfarb said.
G-III also operates stores under the banners of Vilebrequin, Andrew Marc and Calvin Klein Performance.
Overall gross margin advanced to 33.9 percent of sales from 29.9 percent a year ago.