US: VF unable to dodge consumer downturn in Q4
VF Corporation has said its revenues and earnings in the fourth quarter are expected to fall after lower consumer spending resulting from the global economic slowdown.
The company has predicted that fourth quarter revenues will decline approximately 2% from prior year levels, including currency translation.
VF, whose brands include Wrangler, Lee and The North Face, said cost reduction actions have been initiated that should result in annualised savings of approximately $100m beginning in 2009.
The actions will also produce a charge to fourth quarter 2008 earnings of approximately $42m though, resulting in fourth quarter earnings of $1.00 to $1.05 per share and full-year earnings per share flat compared with 2007 levels.
Eric Wiseman, chairman and chief executive officer of VF, said: "VF is well-positioned to weather this difficult environment due to our strong brands and our long history of disciplined financial and balance sheet management."
VF's cash on the balance sheet at year-end is expected to be $350m and no long-term debt repayments are due until October 2010. The company said $1.3bn is available in lines of credit.
Cash flow from operations in 2008 is expected to be approximately $650m, which the company expects to exceed next year.
In its 2009 preliminary guidance the company cited an increase in pension expense levels and the impact of a stronger dollar in foreign currency translation compared with 2008. Increased pension expenses next year are expected to negatively impact 2009 earnings by about $.50 per share, while the impact of foreign currency translation is expected to reduce revenues by 2% from 2008 levels, the company added.
Excluding the approximately $.70 per share combined impact from pension expense and currency translation, VF said that earnings per share in 2009 would exceed its 10 to 11% long-term earnings growth target.
The company added that revenues in 2009 are expected to be down slightly, with a 2% negative impact from foreign currency translation compared with 2008.
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