Shares of Vince Holding Corp. rose 8.8 percent in trading Monday after the company pre-announced fiscal 2015 results that were better than prior guidance.
The company said preliminary net sales for the year ended Jan. 30 are now expected at between $300.5 million and $302.5 million. Preliminary diluted earnings per share are expected between 12 cent and 14 cents, but on an adjusted basis were guided to between 32 cents and 34 cents. Updated guidance for diluted EPS on an adjusted basis excludes a $10.3 million net charge associated with the write-down of excess inventory and aged product and $2.7 million in net management transition costs.
When the company reported third-quarter results in December, it projected net sales for the fiscal year to be between $285 million and $290 million, with adjusted diluted EPS between 17 cents and 21 cents, excluding adjustments net of tax. The company lowered guidance in September when it posted second-quarter results, then projecting between $85 million and $295 million in net sales and adjusted diluted EPS between 31 cents and 37 cents.
Shares of Vince closed at $7.51 in New York Stock Exchange trading.
Brendan Hoffman, chief executive officer, said, “Our results benefited from the work we have done with our wholesale partners to reduce initial orders which led to higher full-price sales and reduced markdown allowances. We also saw favorable response to some of our pre-spring product contribute to the better-than-expected sales and margin results.”
Hoffman added that the company is making progress in recapturing the Vince DNA and that the first collection from the brand’s founders will be seen in the delivery for fall 2016.
Rea Laccone and Christopher LaPolice in November returned to the brand they founded under a two-year consulting pact.
Since the new delivery isn’t expected until fall, some analysts chose to stay on the sidelines.
Baird Equity Research’s Mark Altschwager is maintaining his “Neutral” rating on the stock. “We’re encouraged by above-plan [results] and favorable responses to pre-spring product, but believe much heavy lifting remains as new management works to rebuild brand momentum.”
The company last summer saw the departure of the management team that led the firm’s initial public offering in November 2013. Hoffman joined the company in October, one month before the return of the brand’s founders.
Altschwager raised his target price to $8 a share from $5 to reflect improved sentiment, but said that while he continues to see long-term value in the brand, he is recommending a “patient approach to shares as turnaround begins to unfold.”
One reason is because initial fiscal year 2016 guidance of EPS between 0 cents and 8 cents on revenue of $290 million to $305 million — compared with consensus of 22 cents on revenues of $294 million — has analysts envisioning a pressured first-half for net sales before the recovery takes hold in the second half.
Stifel’s Richard E. Jaffe, who kept his “Hold” rating on Vince shares, said Laccone and LaPolice “have a challenging task ahead, which includes directing and inspiring designers and merchants to create product that is highly appealing and desirable by building on the successful heritage and strong brand identity of Vince. [Since their] impact on product will not occur until fall 2016, [management in the interim] must play defense, limiting the negative impact of unappealing merchandise to the brand equity, protecting their relationship with their wholesale partners and their customers as well as maintaining a strong balance sheet.”