Report: Kate Spade Sales Advances Continue

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New York—Better-than-expected sales at its kate spade new york and Lucky brands helped narrow Fifth & Pacific Cos.’ second quarter loss.

Sales at kate spade new york jumped 48.1% to $101 million and Lucky Brand sales rose 15.3%. However, the company’s other lifestyle brand, Juicy Couture posted a 10.4% decline in sales to $105 million.

For the quarter ended June 30, the company, formerly known as Liz Claiborne Inc., posted a net loss of $52.1 million, or 48 cents a share, compared with a loss of $89.9 million, or 95 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding one-time items, Fifth & Pacific had a loss from continuing operations of 9 cents a share compared with an adjusted loss of 16 cents per share a year ago.

Total revenue declined 6.5% to $337 million, hurt by declines at Juicy Couture. Gross margin widened, however, to 56.6% from 51.5% thanks to lower costs.

Fifth & Pacific’s loss was lower than the 12 cents a share loss that analysts’ expected and despite the decline, sales were above their estimate for $331 million.

Kate Spade: ‘Strong Across All Categories’

“We were very pleased with the results at kate and Lucky, where performance exceeded our expectations, while performance at Juicy was below our expectation,” said William McComb, ceo.

“Kate spade had another strong quarter, posting a 34% increase in direct to consumer comparable sales, driven by strong performance across all categories. At Lucky Brand, direct-to-consumer comparable sales increased 8% in the quarter,” McComb said. “Lucky’s strong full price selling in the quarter drove direct-to-consumer gross margin improvement in excess of 700 basis points compared to last year.”

Results from kate spade new york were helped by gains at the brands 54 retail store and 29 outlet. Kate spade has seen its average retail square footage increase to about 159,000 square feet and boasts comparable store sales per square foot of $1,019 over the last year.

Additional kate spade stores are planned and, according to published reports earlier this month, the brand plans to spin off a more casual, lower priced collection to be called Kate Spade Saturday.

By contrast, sales per square foot at Juicy Couture’s 79 specialty retail stores, 52 outlet stores and five concessions amounted to $646 in the last year.

“At Juicy Couture, direct-to-consumer comparable sales of 9% in the quarter were disappointing, as poor inventory management made it difficult to comp positively,” McComb said. “Inventory at Juicy is planned at more appropriate levels for the second half, starting with the first Fall floor set that arrived earlier this month.”

The company’s Adelington Design Group, its private brand jewelry design and development division that markets Liz Claiborne and Money jewelry for JCPenney and Dana Buchman for Kohl’s, posted a 75.6% decline to $19 million due to the impact of exited businesses.

For its fiscal full year, Fifth & Pacific reiterated its forecast for adjusted earnings in the range of $125 million to $140 million.