Hudson’s Bay Co.’s shares rose 2.1 percent Tuesday, after the retailer revealed lower losses for the third quarter ended Nov. 1 and higher comparable-store sales.
This story first appeared in the December 10, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Helped by strong digital sales, synergies and growth at the Saks Off 5th chain, Hudson’s Bay narrowed its loss to 13 million Canadian dollars, or $11.4 million, in the quarter from 125 million Canadian, or $109.2 million, in the 2013 period.
The Toronto-based retailer, which purchased Saks Fifth Avenue along with Off 5th last year for $2.9 billion, said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization last quarter, on a normalized basis, rose to 116 million Canadian dollars, or $101 million, compared to 63 million Canadian dollars, or $55 million a year ago.
Sales grew 94 percent to 1.9 billion Canadian dollars, or $1.7 billion, from 984 million Canadian dollars, or $849 million, largely through the Saks acquisition. Comparable-store sales rose 2.7 percent.
Same-store sales at the department store group, which includes Hudson’s Bay in Canada and Lord & Taylor in the U.S., increased 1.7 percent. Saks Fifth Avenue’s same-store sales rose 1 percent. Saks Off 5th outlets saw same-store sales increase 19.2 percent.
Hudson’s Bay’s shares closed at 24 Canadian dollars, or $20.96.
“We are pleased with our third-quarter financial performance,” stated Richard Baker, HBC’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We remain on track with our integration of Saks and continue to gain traction on our strategic growth initiatives, especially at HBC Digital, where we experienced substantial sales growth. We are well-positioned for the holiday shopping season with a value proposition underpinned by differentiated merchandising and superior customer service initiatives across all our banners. We remain confident in achieving our financial performance targets for fiscal 2014.”
The retailer reaffirmed its 2014 guidance of between 7.8 billion Canadian dollars, or $6.8 billion, and 8.1 billion Canadian dollars, or $7.1 billion, and normalized earnings of between 580 million Canadian dollars, or $507 million, and 620 million Canadian dollars, or $542 million. Baker cited five core strategies: driving digital sales, growing Off 5th, bringing Saks Fifth Avenue and Off 5th to Canada, “outsized growth” at top doors, and driving synergies and efficiencies across the business.
While generally optimistic, officials cited two downsides: Lord & Taylor, which continues to be a drag on the business but has seen some improved momentum, and ladies apparel. During a conference call, Baker said women’s apparel is “very soft across the industry.”
The best-performing categories last quarter at the department store group were men’s apparel, women’s shoes, cosmetics and Topshop/Topman stores. Sales growth at Saks Fifth Avenue was led by men’s wear, accessories and fragrances. Sales growth at Off 5th was strong across the majority of categories, the company said.
Officials said they felt very good about the current state of inventories and sell-throughs.
As reported November, HBC completed a $1.25 billion, 20-year mortgage on the ground portion of the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship in Manhattan to reduce debt and strengthen the balance sheet. The company said the flagship was appraised at $3.7 billion. HBC purchased Saks last year for $2.9 billion, including debt.