Under Armour returns to revenue growth of 5 percent in Q4

Under Armour, Inc. reported revenue growth of 5 percent or 4 percent currency neutral to 1.4 billion dollars for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. Revenue to wholesale customers declined 1 percent to 733 million dollars, while direct-to-consumer revenue was up 11 percent to 575 million dollars during the quarter. Revenue for the full year was up 3 percent to 5 billion dollars. Revenue to wholesale customers declined 3 percent to 3 billion dollars and direct-to-consumer revenue was up 14 percent to 1.7 billion in 2017.

"After years of rapid growth and building a globally recognized brand, the dynamic landscape of 2017 was a catalyst for us to begin strategically transforming Under Armour into an operationally excellent company," said Under Armour Chairman and CEO Kevin Plank, adding, "A year into this journey, our fourth quarter and full year results demonstrate that the tough decisions we're making are generating the stability necessary to create a more consistent and predictable path to deliver long-term value to our shareholders."

Fourth quarter performance highlights

Under Armour said, consistent with previous expectations, fourth quarter revenue in North America was down 4 percent but strong international momentum continued with revenue up 47 percent or 43 percent currency neutral, representing 23 percent of total revenue. Within the international business, revenue in EMEA was up 45 percent or 37 percent currency neutral, up 56 percent or 55 percent currency neutral in Asia-Pacific and up 36 percent or 34 percent currency neutral in Latin America.

Apparel revenue during the quarter increased 2 percent to 952 million dollars, with growth in men's training and global football tempered by declines in the team sports and outdoor categories. Footwear revenue was up 9 percent to 246 million dollars, driven by strength in running, offset by team sports and basketball. Accessories revenue increased 6 percent to 111 million dollars led by men's training and running.

Gross margin declined 150 basis points to 43.2 percent, while adjusted gross margin, which excludes a $1 million impact from restructuring efforts, was 43.3 percent. Operating loss was 37 million dollars. The company reported net loss of 88 million dollars in the fourth quarter. Excluding both a one-time charge related to the US Tax Act, and the impact of the restructuring plan, adjusted net loss was 1 million dollars. Diluted earnings per share was negative 0.20 dollar.

Review of full year results

Full year North America revenue was down 5 percent but international revenues rose 46 percent or 47 percent currency neutral, representing 22 percent of total revenue. Full year revenue in EMEA was up 42 percent or 43 percent currency neutral, 61 percent or 63 percent currency neutral in Asia-Pacific and 28 percent or 26 percent currency neutral in Latin America.

Apparel revenue increased 2 percent to 3.3 billion dollars, as strength in men's training and golf was moderated by declines in outdoor and team sports. Footwear revenue was up 3 percent to 1 billion dollars, driven by strength in running and men's training mitigated by basketball and youth, while accessories revenue increased 10 percent to 446 million dollars led by strength in men's training.

Gross margin for the year declined 140 basis points to 45 percent, while adjusted gross margin, which excludes a 5 million dollars impact from restructuring efforts, was 45.1 percent. Operating income was 28 million dollars and adjusted operating income was 157 million dollars. Net loss was 48 million dollars in 2017. Excluding both the fourth quarter one-time charge related to the US Tax Act, and the impact of the restructuring plan, adjusted net income was 87 million dollars. Diluted earnings per share were negative 0.11 dollar, while adjusted diluted earnings per share were 0.19 dollar.

Under Armour reveals expectations for FY18

Key points related to Under Armour's full year 2018 outlook, the company added, include net revenue to be up at a low single-digit percentage rate reflecting a mid-single-digit decline in North America and international growth of greater than 25 percent.

The company expects FY18 gross margin to increase approximately 50 basis points to 45.5 percent due to benefits from lower planned promotional activity, product costs, channel mix and changes in foreign currency, operating income to reach 20 million dollars to 30 million dollars and adjusted operating income is to be 130 to 160 million dollars excluding the impact of continued restructuring efforts.

Picture:Under Armour website

Womenswear boosts weekly fashion sales at John Lewis

Total sales at John Lewis for the week ending February 11, 2018, were up 1.7 percent on last year. Style sales were up 2.1 percent, with womenswear driving sales at 5.4 percent. The company said, cold weather clothing in particular performed well, 11 percent ahead of the same time last year and women's accessories sales also rose 4.4 percent.

Home sales were down 6.3 percent, despite outdoor living and upholstery having a positive start to the season. Bedroom furniture sales rose 16 percent. Electricals and home technology sales also increased 9.1 percent, driven by sales within audio and connected home.

Picture:John Lewis media centre

EWM saves 800 jobs after acquiring Berwin & Berwin out of administration

London - Menswear supplier Berwin & Berwin has been saved from administration after being acquired by Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM), thereby rescuing 800 jobs. The acquisition signals EWM Group's commitment to expanding its premium menswear portfolio.

The deal comes after Berwin & Berwin collapsed into administration earlier this month. Tony Wright, Phil Pierce and Russell Cash from business advisory firm FRP Advisory were appointed joint administrators on February 8, following difficult trading conditions. Following their appointment, the UK branch of the business and its assets, which include all existing stock, 36 concessions and all rights to Berwin & Berwin's brands Paul Costelloe, Lambretta and Baumler, were sold to Formal Tailoring 1885 Limited, part of the EWM Group.

EWM saves 800 jobs after acquiring Berwin & Berwin out of administration

Berwin & Berwin acquired by Edinburgh Woollen Mill

Once the acquisition of Berwin & Berwin is complete, EWM Group aims to open five additional concession over the next year and Berwin & Berwin brands will be sold throughout Edinburgh Woollen Mill stores, including its Days Department Stores. The EWM Group will protect all of the existing roles at Berwin & Berwin and is expected to move the menswear group's head office team into its current offices for Jaeger, Austin Reed and Viyella over the next few months.

"We recognised the synergies between the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group and Berwin & Berwin’s manufacturing and cutting operations, which have made a name for themselves through their high-quality finish and commitment to detail," said a spokesperson for EWM Group in a statement first seen by Drapers.

EWM saves 800 jobs after acquiring Berwin & Berwin out of administration

"Across the group, we have always committed ourselves to saving jobs where we can and in the case of Berwin & Berwin no jobs will be lost. We are proud of our record of saving high street brands and always endeavour to provide our customers with the best quality garments at an attractive price point. We welcome Berwin & Berwin’s staff into the group and will look forward to continuing to invest in the business over the coming years."

The menswear group's Hungarian and German operations will also be overseen by the EWM Group, which is set to act as the main operator of the company together with an unnamed partner through a joint venture. Berwin & Berwin was one of the main suppliers for Austin Reed and Jaeger, which both fell into administration before being acquired by EWM Group in 2015 and 2017 respectively. The collapse of Austin Reed was a particularly hard blow to Berwin & Berwin at the time and led to a pre-tax loss of 1.1 million pounds for the 12 months to December 31, 2015.

EWM saves 800 jobs after acquiring Berwin & Berwin out of administration

“Not only does this deal save hundreds of jobs, it ensures the continuity of supply so there is no disruption for customers," said join administrator Phil Pierce. "Berwin & Berwin produces premium, high-quality products and by working closely with the directors to market the business and its assets for sale, we’ve been able to find a buyer that has strong synergies with the company, and ultimately a solution that delivers a positive result for all parties.”

Berwin & Berwin was founded by Simon Berwin, the current managing director of the group's, great-grandfather in the North of England more than 132 years ago.

Photos: Paul Costelloe SS18, courtesy of Paul Costelloe

Kering posts 25 percent revenue growth in FY17

Consolidated revenue at Kering for 2017 amounted to 15,477.7 million euros (19,080.6 million dollars), up 25 percent reported and 27.2 percent based on a comparable Group structure and exchange rates. The company said, sale in Western Europe and North America were up 32.3 percent and 22.9 percent, respectively, on a comparable basis, and in emerging countries, especially Asia Pacific excluding Japan up 32.7 percent on a comparable basis. Japan also delivered 10.9 percent rise on a comparable basis. Consolidated EBITDA jumped 49.4 percent to 3,464.4 million euros (4,268 million dollars) in 2017, while the EBITDA margin widened by 3.7 percentage points to 22.4 percent. Earnings per share amounted to 14.17 euros (17.45 dollars) in 2017, up from 6.46 euros (7.96 dollars) in the prior year. Earnings per share from continuing operations totalled 14.22 euros (17.51 dollars), compared with 6.55 euros (8.06 dollars) for 2016.

Commenting on the company’s performance, François-Henri Pinault, the company’s Chairman and CEO, said in a statement: “Kering delivered a phenomenal year in 2017. We created over 3 billion euros in additional revenues in a single year, and generated more than a billion in additional EBIT. Earlier this year, we announced the completion of our transformation into a luxury pure player. Pending their approval, the distribution to our shareholders of the bulk of Kering’s stake in Puma will allow them to directly benefit from the considerable potential of this brand, which is in the early days of its growth story.”

Review of Kering’s full year results

Kering’s gross margin for 2017 amounted to 10,133 million euros (12,477.9 million dollars), up 30.1 percent on the previous year as reported. Recurring operating income was up 56.3 percent as reported to 2,948 million euros (3,630 million dollars). Consolidated recurring operating margin advanced 3.8 percentage points year on year to 19 percent. Net income, group share surged 119.5 percent to 1,785.6 million euros (2,198.4 million dollars), while net income from continuing operations excluding non-recurring items, group share came in at 2,001.9 million euros (2,464.8 million dollars), an increase of 56.2 percent year on year.

Revenue generated by Kering’s Luxury activities passed the 10 billion euros (12.3 million dollars) mark for the first time, advancing 27.5 percent as reported and 29.9 percent on a comparable basis to 10,795.8 million euros (13,292.3 million dollars), driven by 35.3 percent comparable growth in the directly operated store network and 16.7 percent comparable growth in the wholesale network. Directly operated stores – which account for over 75 percent of total sales for luxury activities – saw strong growth momentum across all regions, in both emerging countries up 32.8 percent on a comparable basis and mature markets, up 28.1 percent on a comparable basis.

Total revenue advanced 33.4 percent on a comparable basis in Asia Pacific, 32.7 percent in Western Europe, 27.1 percent in North America and 15.5 percent in Japan. Online sales for luxury activities surged by more than 70 percent. Kering’s Luxury activities reported further revenue growth in fourth-quarter 2017, with a rise of 24.6 percent as reported and 30.5 percent on a comparable basis. The directly operated store network continued on an uptrend, with sales rising 36 percent on a comparable basis over the quarter.

Gucci revenues surpass 6 billion euros

Gucci, the company said, outperformed the market, with 2017 revenue topping the 6 billion euros (7.3 billion dollars) mark for the first time, up 41.9 percent reported and 44.6 percent on a comparable basis. Sales in directly operated stores were 47 percent higher year on year, with 57.6 percent comparable sales growth in Western Europe and 43.9 percent comparable sales rise in North America. Online sales soared by more than 80 percent, while sales in the wholesale network were up 34.7 percent on a comparable basis. The rise in revenue in fourth-quarter was 42.6 percent on a comparable basis.

Bottega Veneta’s revenue amounted to 1,176.3 million euros (1,449.3 million dollars), up 0.2 percent reported and 2.4 percent on comparable data. Revenue in directly operated stores rose 4 percent, led by the rise in sales in Western Europe, up 7.3 percent on a comparable basis. Revenue in the fourth quarter was up 4.7 percent on a comparable basis, while sales in directly operated stores were up 6 percent over the period.

Revenues at Yves Saint Laurent were up 23 percent reported and 25.3 percent on a comparable basis to 1,501.4 million euros (1,850.8 million dollars). Sales in directly operated stores increased 27.3 percent on a comparable basis, propelled by revenue growth across all regions. Revenues in Western Europe were up 27.1 percent on a comparable basis, while the wholesale network posted 20.1 percent growth. Fourth-quarter sales increased 22.9 percent on a comparable basis.

Other luxury brands reported revenue rise of 12.3 percent reported and 14.1 percent on comparable data to 1,906.9 million euros (2,350.7 million dollars). All of the group’s main regions contributed to the sales uptick, with Western Europe up 17 percent on a comparable basis and Japan up 19.9 percent on a comparable basis. Sales in directly operated stores rose by 26.3 percent on a comparable basis, with all brands contributing to growth. Sales in the wholesale network climbed 7.4 percent on a comparable basis.

Couture & leather goods brands posted revenue growth of 17.8 percent on a comparable basis, lifted by a positive growth in Balenciaga. Watches & jewellery brands delivered growth of 8.7 percent on a comparable basis. Sales for other luxury brands in fourth-quarter rose 18.8 percent on a comparable basis, driven especially by Balenciaga, which was the group’s fastest-growing brand in the quarter.

Puma revenues accelerate

2017 revenue for the sport & lifestyle activities totalled 4,381.9 million euros (5,401.9 million dollars), a rise of 12.8 percent reported and 14.7 percent on a comparable basis. Sales were up in all distribution channels and in all main regions. Footwear sales were up 23.3 percent on a comparable basis and recurring operating income for sport & lifestyle activities doubled year on year, up 98.1 percent to 244 million euros (300.9 million dollars) in 2017.

Puma’s full-year revenue topped the 4 billion euros (4.9 billion dollars) mark for the first time, up 14 percent reported and 15.8 percent on a comparable basis at 4,151.7 million euros (5,116.2 million dollars). Wholesale sales – which represented 76.5 percent of the brand's total revenue – rose by 14 percent on a comparable basis. Sales in directly operated stores were up 22.9 percent. Puma continued on an uptrend in fourth-quarter 2017, with revenue advancing 14.6 percent on a comparable basis. 2017 recurring operating income for the brand almost doubled year on year, soaring 92.7 percent to 243.9 million euros (300.6 million dollars).

Kering board decides to offload stake in Puma

At its February 12, 2018 meeting, the Kering board decided to ask shareholders to approve a cash dividend of 6 euros (7.3 dollars) per share for 2017, at the annual general meeting, up 30 percent year on year. The board has also decided to ask shareholders to approve the payment of a stock dividend in the form of Puma SE shares representing 70.40 percent of Puma’s total outstanding share capital, out of the 86.25 percent owned by the group as of December 31, 2017. Upon completion of this operation, Kering would retain 15.85 percent of its shares outstanding and voting rights.

About the outlook for 2018, Kering said, the group's luxury activities will focus on achieving same-store revenue growth in 2018 while ensuring a targeted and selective expansion of their store network. In the group's sport & lifestyle activities, Puma expects to deliver another year of strong growth in revenue and recurring operating margin. The company added that if Kering’s shareholders approve the resolution to pay an exceptional dividend in the form of 70.40 percent of Puma’s total shares outstanding, the group’s exposure to this business will be automatically reduced.


Bimba Y Lola seeking buyers to sell majority stake

Sisters María and Uxía Domínguez are once again exploring possibilities of finding a buyer to sell a 70 percent stake in the company to expand their international presence, reports El Independiente. The report adds that the company also roped in Morgan Stanley in September last year to find a buyer and now the investment bank has distributed the sale book among the venture capital funds including Bain Capital, PAI, Permira, CVC, Carlyle and TowerBrook, among others.

Quoting the document, the report further adds that some investors are looking at acquiring 100 percent stake in the company without making any changes to the top management team. Bimba Y Lola opened doors to its first store in Bilbao in 2006 and operates 244 points of sale today. The company is targeting to close fiscal year 2018 with revenues of over 180 million euros (221.6 million dollars) and an EBITDA of 35 million euros (43 million dollars).

While the Dominguez sisters are looking at a valuation of around 500 to 525 million euros (615.6 to 646 million dollars), almost 15 times to the EBITDA, industry sources are of the opinion that the deal would close at a valuation of around 425-450 million euros (523 to 554 million dollars).

Earlier in 2013 as well, Bimba y Lola was exploring a buyer but its negotiations with L Catterton (formerly L Capital) could not reach a conclusive stage.

Picture:Facebook/Bimba Y Lola

H&M drops dividend reinvestment plan

Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) has announced that the company’s board of directors is proposing an unchanged cash dividend of 9.75 Swedish krona (1.21 dollars) per share to the 2018 AGM instead of exploring a possibility of a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP).

In its full-year report for the 2016/2017 financial year, the company had said that its board of directors was investigating a possibility of offering all shareholders an opportunity to reinvest the dividend received in newly issued H&M shares, in what is known as a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP). However, H&M on investigation, the reinvestment plan was deemed difficult to implement, both from a technical perspective and because of time constraints.

Now the dividend of 9.75 Swedish krona, the company said, will be paid in two instalments – one in the spring and one in the autumn. The record date proposed for the first payment of 4.90 Swedish krona (0.61 dollar) is May 11, 2018, which will be paid on May 16, 2018 and the second dividend payment of 4.85 Swedish krona (0.60 dollar) will be paid on November 16, 2018.

Picture:H&M website

London - Beat, a UK-based eating disorder charity, has renewed its partnership with online fashion retailer Asos. The new, expanded remit includes targeted support for men suffering from eating disorders.

Asos has been a partner of Beat for the past five years, and the funding from the renewed partnership will be used to extend the opening hours of the charity’s national helpline and provide a new online one-on-one support service, created to appeal to men in particular, who may be less inclined to use a helpline. The service will offer tailored practical help as well as emotional support to those suffering from eating disorders.

In addition, Beat will share information and advice about eating disorders and the importance of mental health and a positive body image with Asos, which will arm the retailer with best practice knowledge to support its customers and employees. Asos employees will also be given the opportunity to volunteer and lend their skills to the charity in different ways, including mentoring Beat’s Young Ambassadors, helping facilitate online support groups and taking part in research and campaigning.

“We know that eating disorders affect both men and women and the earlier sufferers access our support, the better their chances of a full recovery are,” said Beat CEO, Andrew Radford in a statement. “By 2021 we intend to be supporting ten times as many people as we are today and Asos’s partnership is crucial to helping us achieve this goal.”

Asos’ Director of Corporate Responsibility, Louise McCabe added, “At Asos, we’re committed to promoting a healthy, positive body image to our customers and colleagues so it makes total sense for us to continue supporting Beat and its invaluable work.”

New Look scraps 12 mn pounds pay scheme

After announcing the departure of Danny Barrasso, managing director UK & ROI, New Look has scrapped a 12 million pounds (16.6 million dollars) pay scheme, announced in 2015, states a This is Money report. In 2016, the company banking upon buoyant business prospects also raised it by several million pounds. However, the company had to roll it back after its South African owner Brait cut the nominal value of the fashion business to zero.

The development also follows after the company recently reported 6.3 percent fall in its third quarter revenue at 1,069.2 million pounds and 10.6 percent drop in the group like-for-like sales as well as 10.7 percent sales decline in the UK. New Look plans to close around 60 stores, 10 percent of its 594 store estate in the UK.

Last month, according to The Guardian, credit insurer Euler Hermes decided to withdraw cover for some of New Look’s suppliers citing financial troubles at the fashion chain. New Look acquired by the South African private equity firm Brait for 780 million pounds (1,080.7 million dollars) in 2015, is struggling with a debt of 1.2 billion pounds (1.6 billion dollars).

Picture:New Look website

House of Fraser ropes in Rothschild for debt refinancing

Department store chain House of Fraser has brought investment bank Rothschild on board as the company looks at refinancing its debt package, reports The Telegraph. Rothschild is expected to advise the troubled UK retailer, owned by China’s Sanpower, on the refinancing of 225 million pounds (312 million dollars) of its 390 million pounds (540 million dollars) debt package, maturing in July 2019, while the remaining publicly traded bonds worth 165 million pounds (228.5 million dollars) are due to mature in 2020. The move follows after House of Fraser’s disappointing festive sales.

The retailer’s woes continued with rating agency Moody's downgrading its credit rating n December to Caa1 from B3 and a negative rating on its 165 million pounds of bonds coupled with a credit insurer deciding to withdraw cover to some of its suppliers. However, Yuan Yafei, Chairman of Sanpower, who acquired an 89 percent stake in the company in 2014, has said that he "remains confident" in House of Fraser's prospects. In September, Sanpower also injected 15 million pounds (20.7 million dollars) into the business.

Despite funding from Sanpower, House of Fraser sought rent reduction from landlords last month and signed a deal for 30 million pounds (41.5 million dollars) to sell the intellectual property rights of now defunct company-owned brands, in a bid to save costs. Instead of closing stores, the retailer also plans to reduce its shop space by 30 percent by leasing basements or top floors, the Evening Standard report adds.

The report further said that House of Fraser sold 175 million pounds (242.6 million dollars) of five-year bonds as part of a 2015 debt restructuring, which are now trading at a record low of 75p on the pound. Amid financial uncertainty, concerns for the department store chain are on the rise.

Picture:Facebook/House of Fraser

Puma: FY17 sales and earnings jump

Puma’s fourth quarter sales grew by 14.5 percent currency-adjusted and 8.6 percent reported to 1,040.2 million euros (1,276 million dollars) supported by double-digit growth across regions. In the financial year 2017, Puma’s sales increased by 15.9 percent currency adjusted and 14 percent reported to 4,135.9 million euros (5,073.3 million dollars), surpassing the 4 billion euro sales mark for the first time in the company’s history. Net earnings for the year reached 135.8 million euros (166.5 million dollars) against 62.4 million euros (76.5 million dollars) in 2016 translating into earnings per share of 9.09 euros (11.1 dollars) compared to 4.17 euros (5.11 dollars) last year.

Commenting on the full year results, Bjørn Gulden, Chief Executive Officer of Puma SE said in a statement: “2017 was a great year for us at Puma. We expect to increase our sales around 10 percent in constant currencies in 2018 and we expect to increase our EBIT to between 305 million to 325 million euros. We are also pleased by Kering’s proposal to reduce their ownership in Puma by a distribution of dividend in kind to its shareholders. PUMA will then be a public independent company with a much higher free float (55 percent) and with two strong anchor shareholders – Kering (16 percent) and Artemis (29 percent).”

Sales development across geographies in FY17

Growth in 2017 was particularly strong in the EMEA region, where sales rose by 19.5 percent currency adjusted and 19.1 percent reported to 1,646.2 million euros (2,019.3 million dollars). The company said, France, the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and the United Kingdom as well as Russia and South Africa delivered double-digit sales growth. Sales in the Americas region went up by 14.3 percent currency adjusted and 11.6 percent reported to 1,494.8 million euros (1,833.5 million dollars), with both North and Latin America contributing with double-digit growth rates.

In the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region, sales rose by 12.7 percent currency adjusted and 10 percent reported to 994.9 million euros (1,220.3 million dollars) driven by double-digit growth in China and Australia.

Footwear sales were up 23.5 percent currency adjusted and 21.4 percent reported to 1,974.5 million euros (2,421.6 million dollars). Running and Training as well as Sportstyle were the categories with the strongest growth rates. In the apparel segment, sales rose by 10 percent currency adjusted and 8.1 percent reported to 1,441.4 million euros (1,767.8 million dollars). The Sportstyle category, and especially women’s products, contributed to this increase. Sales in accessories grew by 9.2 percent currency adjusted or 8 percent reported to 719.9 million euros (882.9 million dollars) driven by socks, underwear, headwear as well as bags and backpacks, while Puma’s golf hardware business remained stable. Including ecommerce, Puma's own and operated retail sales rose by 22.9 percent currency adjusted to 961 million euros (1,178.8 million dollars).

Fourth quarter gross profit margin grew by 250 basis points from 44.6 percent to 47.1 percent. The operating result (EBIT) reached 14.1 million euros (17.3 million dollars) to 29.8 million euros (36.5 million dollars) in the fourth quarter 2017. Net earnings in the quarter improved to 2.2 million euros (2.7 million dollars) and earnings per share increased correspondingly to 0.14 euro (0.17 dollar). The gross profit margin improved by 160 basis points from 45.7 percent to 47.3 percent in 2017, while the operating result (EBIT) improved by 91.7 percent to 244.6 million euros (300 million dollars) in 2017.

Puma reveals outlook for 2018

For the full year 2018, we expect that currency-adjusted net sales will increase by approximately 10 percent. The gross profit margin is forecasted to improve slightly over 47.3 percent in 2017. At the current exchange rate levels, Puma’s management expects that EBIT will improve significantly due to higher sales and a slightly improved gross profit margin. The EBIT is therefore expected to come in between 305 million euros (374 million dollars) and 325 million euros (398.7 million dollars).

Based on Puma’s positive business development with a significant improvement of profitability and cash flow, the managing directors and the administrative board, the company added, will propose a one-off total dividend of 12.50 euros (15.3 dollars) per share for the financial year 2017 at the annual general meeting. In the previous year, Puma paid 0.75 euro (0.92 dollar) per share as a regular dividend.

Picture:Puma website