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Juicy Couture aims to re-take ‘athleisure’ market

BY CSA STAFF

Before Lululemon and many others started selling "athleisure" apparel, Juicy Couture started the trend in the 1990s. Now the brand and retailer plans a comeback.

The company says it expects to open 133 stores (through its various licensing partners) during the next five years, according to Women's Wear Daily. Juicy will open 31 international locations in eight countries this year, the report said. Three of the countries — India, South Africa and Azerbaijan — will be new market entries for the brand.

Lululemon, Foot Locker and many other retailers have been racing to tap the "athleisure" market, comprised of mostly Millennial shoppers who want fashionable, dressed up sweats and exercise clothing as their casual go-to clothing for both leisure and work. Athleisurehas become one of the hottest selling apparel categories in recent years.

Currently, Juicy Couture operates 199 freestanding stores overseas. In addition, it also operates outlet stores and shops-in-shop in select department stores across 60 countries, including the U.S.

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Stein Mart growing same store sales, footprint

BY CSA STAFF

Off-price retailer Stein Mart is poised for expansion as stronger traffic in the holiday quarter helped the company post an increase in same store sales.

Stein Mart posted an 11% increase in fourth quarter adjusted operating income. Net income for the quarter surged 65.8% to $12.3 million or 27 cents per diluted share, up from $7.4 million or 16 cents a share a year ago. For the year, it rose slightly, to $26.9 million from $25.5 million, with earnings per share climbing from 57 cents to 59 cents.The company also reported that net sales grew 7.3% in the fourth quarter, with a 5.6% increase in same stores sales.The company had revenue of $387 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.86 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.29 earnings per share.

We were delighted with our strong finish to 2014 which included a two percent increase in traffic in the fourth quarter. Our solid second half sales performance, with a 23 percent increase in adjusted operating income was a great recovery from the first half which was negatively influenced by severe weather," said Jay Stein, Chief Executive Officer. "Gross profit margin continues to be near our historically highest levels which, when combined with increasing sales, leverages our ongoing operating expenses and should result in strong future cash flows."

Stein Mart said it expects profits to be relatively flat in 2015. The company plans to open 11 new stores, close two stores and relocate one store in 2015.

Stein Mart operates approximately 264 stores in 29 states.

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JoS. A. Bank weighs on Men’s Wearhouse in Q4

BY CSA STAFF

The acquisition of JoS. A. Bank is weighing on the financials at Men’s Wearhouse, which posted a decline in profits for the fourth quarter.

Men’s Wearhouse reported a quarterly loss of $35.9 million, or $0.75 per share, versus a year-ago loss of $30.4 million, or $0.64 per share. Excluding non-operating items, the company lost $0.03 per share, versus a year-ago loss of $0.38 per share. Its net sales surged 66% to $928.4 million.

Doug Ewert, Men's Wearhouse chief executive officer, said: "We continue to be pleased with the robust earnings performance of our legacy brands. Fueling this performance in the fourth quarter are comparable sales increases of 6.8% at Men's Wearhouse, 8.6% at Moores and 6.8% at K&G. And while Jos. A. Bank's comparable sales were negative 6.6%, they were above our expectations."

Men's Warehouse now expects 2015 adjusted earnings of $2.70 to $2.90 per share, versus analysts' estimates of $2.52 per share. It projects 2017 adjusted earnings of $5.75 to $6.25 per share.

“We have made significant progress on integrating Jos. A. Bank into the infrastructure of Men’s Wearhouse and have developed a robust process around synergy identification and realization,” Ewert said. “In the nine months since the acquisition, Jos. A. Bank has transitioned many of the back office functions, began store training programs, began the work to instill its employees with the Men’s Wearhouse culture, and launched tuxedo rental in all its Jos. A. Bank locations. All of this progress was made while exceeding our initial synergy run-rate target of $15 million as we ended the year with run-rate synergies of $35 million."

Ewert predicted sales growth at Jos. A. Bank this year and next, particularly after the company finishes system conversions.

"Fiscal year 2015 will be the year of strategic transition for Jos. A. Bank as we work on unlocking customer facing opportunities. Much of this work lies in systems conversions which will be completed in the second half of 2015. As such, we are looking forward to the growth in sales and gross margins that we anticipate achieving in late 2015 and into 2016. "We continue to be confident in our 2017 EPS guidance which has now been increased to include K&G. We expect profits to accelerate in 2016 with rebounding sales after three consecutive years of negative comps at Jos. A. Bank, realized cost synergies and modest growth in the legacy business. With the stable platform our legacy brands provide, we are able to focus on this transitional year for Jos. A. Bank as we complete the transition and integration of all the key areas during the year," Ewert added.

Men’s Wearhouse has more than 1,100 stores nationwide.

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