Ralph Lauren Corp.’s fourth-quarter results put the company in the black this year, and the firm also bested Wall Street’s consensus estimates for revenues and for diluted earnings per share.
Investors liked the news, sending Ralph Lauren shares up 13.5 percent to $132.39 in early trading.
For the three months ended March 31, net income was $41.3 million, or 50 cents a diluted share, compared with a net loss of $204 million, or $2.48, a year ago. On adjusted basis, diluted EPS was 90 cents. Net revenues slipped 2.3 percent to $1.53 billion from $1.57 billion. North American comparable-store sales were flat, with a 6 percent gain in brick-and-mortar stores that was offset by an 18 percent decrease at ralphlauren.com, due mostly to a planned reduction in promotion frequency.
Wall Street was expecting adjusted EPS of 83 cents on revenues of $1.48 billion.
For fiscal 2018, net income was $163 million, or $1.97 a diluted share, on revenues of $6.2 billion.
Sales in North America fell to $759.3 million from $881.8 million, while sales grew in both Europe and Asia. Sales in Europe rose to $420 million from $370.8 million, while in Asia increased to $256.8 million from $219.7 million.
Ralph Lauren, executive chairman and chief creative officer, said, “Patrice [Louvet, president and chief executive officer] and I have developed a strong partnership over the past year and I am confident that we are on the right path as we kick off our 50th anniversary celebration and build the future of our iconic company and brand.”
Louvet, who said the company delivered on its promises for the quarter and full year, added, “We start the new year with a solid foundation — including a clear strategic plan to deliver long-term growth and value creation, an engage global organization, and a strong balance sheet.”
The ceo said the company will provide more details about its strategic plan on June 7, when the company holds its Investor Day for analysts. Further, the company welcomed Michael George to its board, and Louvet said Angela Ahrendts will be nominated for election to join the company’s board in August.
Some of those initiatives that Louvet referred to included average unit retail across direct-to-consumer network up 4 percent for the full year; discount rates down across all regions; continued closure of unproductive distribution and reduction in off-price penetration; expanded store network in Asia; reduced adjusted operating expenses through increased efficiencies, and an achieved goal of having 90 percent of products on nine-month lead times.
For fiscal 2019, the company said it expects net revenues to decrease low single-digits in constant currency. For the first quarter, the company guided net revenue to be flat to down slightly in constant currency.