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Demand for luxury, new stores drive strong Q4 for Michael Kors

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hong Kong – Michael Kors Holdings attributed impressive growth in net income, total revenues and same-store sales during fourth quarter 2014 to strong global demand for luxury items. Net income for the three months ended March 29 rose 59% to $161 million, from $101.1 million last year.

Total revenue increased 53.6% to $917.5 million. from $597.2 million. Same-store sales grew 26%. The addition of 101 corporate stores and 150 licensed stores, including concessions, also helped fuel results.

During fiscal 2014, net income rose 66% to $661.5 million from $397.6 million in fiscal 2013. Total revenue for the year increased 51.8% to $3.3 billion from $2.2 billion, and same-store sales increased 26.2%.

“We believe that our expanding global brand awareness is driving continued strong demand for our luxury product and fueling our growth as a global luxury lifestyle brand,” said John D. Idol, chairman and CEO of Michael Kors. “In addition, Michael Kors and our talented design team continue to deliver exceptional products while the distinctive jet-set in-store experience that we offer in both our retail stores and our shop-in-shops continues to resonate well with our consumers. Overall, we have great momentum as we head into fiscal 2015 and remain very excited about our growth prospects for next year and beyond.”

For the first quarter of fiscal 2015, Michael Kors expects total revenue to be in the range of $840 million to $850 million. This assumes a same-store sales increase of approximately 20%. Total revenue for the full fiscal year is expected to be in the range of $4 billion to $4.1 billion. This assumes a same-store sales increase in the high teens.

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Abercrombie settles overtime suit with more assistant managers

BY Dan Berthiaume

New Albany, Ohio – Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Abercrombie & Fitch Stores Inc. have offered to pay $96,000 to 13 assistant managers for failing to pay proper overtime wages, in connection with a lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of New York. This is in addition to prior offers from Abercrombie & Fitch to pay other assistant managers who had joined the lawsuit.

Abercrombie also agreed to pay the assistant managers’ attorney’s fees and court costs. The claims arose under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and asserted that Abercrombie violated the FLSA by failing to pay Assistant Managers all wages due and owing to them for working more than 40 hours a week. Abercrombie did not pay overtime to the assistant managers at time and one-half, and plaintiffs alleged that its practice violated the law.

Abercrombie claimed that the amounts offered to the assistant managers include all overtime wages owed plus liquidated (double) damages, and interest. The full number of Abercrombie assistant managers who were subject to Abercrombie’s pay practice is not known. Assistant managers are continuing to join the lawsuit.

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White Castle launches social promotion

BY Dan Berthiaume

Columbus, Ohio – White Castle is launching a social media promotion called the #CraveMobile Contest. The contest gives Cravers, the company’s most loyal fans, the chance to win a visit from the Crave Mobile, White Castle’s mobile food truck, for a party with 50 friends.

White Castle’s #CraveMobile Contest runs from May 28 through July 31, 2014. Customers can log into one of three social media sites: Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, explain why they deserve to win a Crave Mobile party and attach a photo or video to enhance their explanation, and then submit their entry by using the hashtag #CraveMobile

Jaime Richardson, VP, White Castle, said the retailer is targeting younger consumers with the social contest.

"We know there are Cravers out there who were introduced to White Castle at a young age and cannot imagine their life without our sliders,” said Richardson. “But we also know there is a generation of people who might not have had the opportunity yet. We see this contest as the chance to unleash the power of the crave to new and old Cravers alike and to ignite a slider passion throughout the country."

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