Kenneth Cole Narrows Q1 Loss on Lower Costs

Kenneth Cole was forced to remove this billboard in Manhattan this week after teachers group and their unions protested its "Teachers' rights vs. students' rights" tagline..

New York—Kenneth Cole Productions reported Thursday that its narrowed its first quarter loss despite flat sales but thanks to lower costs.

For the quarter ended March 31, Kenneth Cole said net loss was $1.9 million, or 10 cents a share, compared with $17.2 million, or 94 cents a share a year ago. But analysts’ average estimate expected a loss of 3 cents a share.

Net revenue was nearly flat at $116.8 million vs. $117.5 a year ago. Wholesale revenues rose 3% to $76.7 million, helping to offset a 6.3% decline to $9.1 million in licensing revenue. Consumer direct sales, including web sales, were down 6.7% to $31 million due to four fewer stores and a comparable store sales decline of 2%.

Operating expenses were down about 20%, mainly due to lower costs associated with severance, store closings etc. Inventory levels increased 5.9% to $45.6 million.

The company ended the quarter with $48.9 million in cash and no long-term debt.

In February, Kenneth Cole, founder and chairman, offered to take the company private with a $274 million buyout, which comes to $15 a share—an offer that’s still pending.


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