Inter Parfums Inc. is looking into e-commerce as foot traffic shifts away from mid-tier department stores.
“There is less traffic in the U.S. department stores and it’s somewhat being replaced by companies like Ulta [Beauty] and Sephora,” said Inter Parfums chief financial officer Russell Greenberg. “E-commerce is a very interesting market,” he added. “This is something that we are very much looking into and looking to see how e-commerce can be used effectively within our organization.” He said that while certain aspects of that e-commerce concept were planned, he was not prepared to share the details on the company’s Wednesday morning call with Wall Street analysts.
Greenberg and chief executive officer Jean Madar were prepared to discuss their interest in M&A.
“I’m very comfortable having $250 million in cash in the bank because we’ll be happy to have it when we decide to make an acquisition — a large one for $500 million, or even more,” Madar said. “This will put us in a different category without any stress. We’re looking at medium-sized businesses, [and] we could also integrate larger-sized businesses.”
Madar said the fragrance M&A environment is a bit more open because of Coty Inc.’s planned divestiture of 6 percent to 8 percent of its business, which includes fragrance. “We get offers from brands, not on a daily basis, but on a weekly and monthly basis,” Madar said. “In order to keep the portfolio very strong we are very selective. We are OK with a smaller brand if we see the potential, we have the possibility to grow.”
Both executives confirmed they did not expect the Jimmy Choo sales process to affect their Jimmy Choo fragrance business. That line did $90.4 million in sales for 2016, and Inter Parfums holds the license until 2023 or 2024, Madar said.
The company released financial results on Tuesday evening, posting both sales and profit gains for its first quarter.
Net income was $13.4 million, up from $7.3 million in the prior-year period. Net sales were $143.1 million, up 28.3 percent year-over-year from $111.5 million. Net earnings per diluted share were 43 cents, up from 24 cents. Legacy fragrances helped to drive sales for the quarter.
Jimmy Choo saw a 57 percent growth in sales from legacy and new fragrances; Lanvin sales were up 46 percent, driven in part by Éclat d’Arpège and the launch of Modern Princess; Rochas sales were up 43 percent from existing fragrances and initial sales of Mademoiselle Rochas.
Montblanc sales were down 10 percent, which Inter Parfums Inc. said was because of a difficult comparison to the prior-year period (in which there was a 29 percent jump in sales with the launch of Montblanc Legend Spirit). At that brand, Inter Parfums is planning the launch of Montblanc Legend Night for the end of the year.
Later this year, the company is planning on launching a multiscent collection from Boucheron, a fragrance duo from Karl Lagerfeld (which is undergoing a shift to more “democratic” pricing, Madar said), a brand extension on Lanvin’s Éclat d’Arpège and another fragrance for Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire line.
For the U.S. side of the business, Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister fragrances drove growth. Anna Sui turned around operations in China, Madar noted.
“During the economic downturn in China, a major market for [Anna Sui], we maintained our strong advertising and marketing commitment to Anna Sui, which is being rewarded as the Chinese economy improves,” Madar said. “The brand’s growing popularity in other Asian countries is contributing to the upturn in Anna Sui fragrance sales, which we are exploiting with a major new product launch for the brand later this year with distribution concentrated across Asia.”
Inter Parfums is predicting between $550 million and $560 million in net sales, and net income to hover between $1.20 and $1.24 per diluted share.