just-styles round-up of Q3 apparel and footwear industry results

just-style's round-up of Q3 apparel and footwear industry results

In the most recent third-quarter filings from US apparel brands and retailers Gymboree, Aeropostale, Sears and New York & Co narrowed their losses, while Oxford IndustriesDestination Maternity and J Crew saw theirs widen. Both The Finish Line and Men's Wearhouse swung to a loss. On a positive note, The Children's Place, Express, American Eagle Outfitters, G-III Apparel Group and Abercrombie & Fitch booked higher earnings. 

The Finish Line 

US athletic apparel and footwear retailer The Finish Line has lowered its full-year guidance after swinging to a net loss during its third quarter. Net loss amounted to $21.8m for the 13 weeks to 28 November, compared to a profit of $2.5m in the same period a year ago. Net sales were fell 3.5% to $382.1m from $395.8m in the prior year, while comparable store sales declined 5.8%. The company blamed disruption in its supply chain following the implementation of a new warehouse and order management system. The Finish Line now expects comparable store sales to be up low-single digits, compared to its previous guidance of low single to mid single digit growth. Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share are forecast to be between $1.18 and $1.23.

The company also revealed it will improve the profitability of its store fleet by closing up to 150 stores, or 25% of its store base, over the next four years. These stores produce average annual sales of around $1m, a portion of which the company expects to recapture at nearby locations and through its digital sites.

Gymboree Corp 

Children's apparel retailer Gymboree Corp lowered its net loss in the third quarter and said it is encouraged by the group's performance to date in the fourth quarter. Net losses amounted to US$10m from a loss of $522.1m a year earlier, while gross margin widened to 40.2% from 39.7%. Third quarter 2014 earnings included a charge of $591.4m. Net sales, however, fell 3.6% to $305.4m as a result of a drop in Gymboree brand sales. Comparable sales were down 3%. For the full year, the company said it now expects adjusted EBITDA to be in the lower half of its previously announced range of $95m to $105m, due to an $11m impact from the west coast port slowdown in the first half of the year.

Cherokee Global Brands

Global brand management business Cherokee Global Brands saw both earnings and sales fall in the third-quarter, but said that transitioning the business away from legacy relationships will help establish new, more profitable partnerships that "fully leverage the Cherokee platform". Earnings in the period fell to US$1.5m from $2.3m a year earlier as a result of costs associated with the acquisition of Flip Flop Shops and IP costs. Gross margin narrowed to 33.3% from 46% last year, while GAAP revenues dropped to $8.1m from $8.7m. This was due to zero revenues from Cherokee and Liz Lange-branded products in Canada due to Target's Canada bankruptcy, zero revenues from Tesco in the UK and Central Europe, and the transition of the Tony Hawk brand in Canada from a wholesale licensee to a direct-to-retail license agreement with Wal-Mart. 

Men's Wearhouse 

Formal clothing specialist Men's Wearhouse swung to a loss during the quarter, hurt by a 14.7% decline in sales at Jos A Bank. Net loss amounted to $27.2m for the three months to 31 October, compared to net earnings of $6.8m in the prior year period. Sales fell 2.8% to $865.4m, with retail sales down 2.2% and corporate apparel sales dropping by 10.4%. Gross margin, however, increased 164 basis points to 43.1%. 

Stifel analyst Richard Jaffe noted: "While we anticipate continued outperformance at the legacy divisions, Jos A Bank is increasingly challenged to drive traffic and sales (QTD comp sales fell 35%). Given the infrequent shopping habits of the male consumer and the need to re-educate the core Bank's customer, and attract a new customer, the turnaround will likely be prolonged. Although the company has begun to put strategies in place to improve Jos A Bank's profitability, the timing and effectiveness remains uncertain."

Lululemon Athletica 

Yoga wear brand Lululemon Athletica has cut its full-year outlook after posting a 12.1% decline in third-quarter net profit. Net income amounted to $53.2m for the three months to 1 November, compared to $60.5m in the same period of the prior year. Revenue increased 14% to $479.7m from $419.4m last year, while comparable sales were up 6% on a constant dollar basis. Gross margin dropped to 46.9% from 50.3% a year ago. The company now expects full-year revenue to range from $2.03-2.04bn, down from its earlier guidance of $2.03-2.06bn. Earnings per share are forecast to be between $1.81 to $1.84, compared to its earlier expectations of $1.87-1.92.  

Conlumino analyst Neil Saunders said: "Despite the challenges, the tailwinds provided by continued interest in athletics and fitness – which shows no signs of slowing down – will likely to help cushion Lululemon's problems. However, we maintain our view that the company now needs to work much harder if it is to keep in good shape in what is now a much more competitive market."

Oxford Industries 

Oxford Industries has lowered the top end of its guidance for the full year after seeings its third-quarter loss widen. Its net loss amounted to $2.1m for the three months to 31 October, compared to a loss of $74,000 in the same period of the prior year. Sales fell 1.3% to $198.6m from $201.2m last year. Tommy Bahama sales edged down 1%, while Lilly Pulitzer increased 22%. However, gross margin improved to 54.3% from 51.6%. The company now expects earnings per share to range from $3.44-3.54, compared to its prior guidance of $3.44-3.59. 

Christopher & Banks 

Women's wear retailer Christopher & Banks swung to a net loss during the third quarter. For the three months to 31 October, net loss amounted to $300,000, compared to a net income of $9m in the same period of the prior year. Sales fell 6.3% to $103.6m from $110.6m last year, while same store sales declined 6.5%. Gross margin dropped to 35.8% from 39.5% a year ago. 

The Children's Place

The Children's Place posted a 4.3% increase in third-quarter net profit despite lower year-on-year sales. Net income reached $38.5m for the 13 weeks to 31 October, compared to $36.9m in the same period of the prior year. Sales declined 6.4% to $455.9m from $487.3m a year ago, while comparable retail sales fell 3%, due to unseasonably warm weather across the US. The company said the quarter included the negative impact of around $9.9m from currency exchange rate fluctuations.

Conlumino analyst Carter Harrison said: "Going into the all important fourth quarter, these results raise concerns over the current inventory position. Fortunately, thanks to better systems and allocation Children's Place is in a reasonable position in terms of stock levels and while we expect some discounting to clear older inventory, we do not believe that the company will need to resort to deep or overly extensive price cutting to clear excess product."

Genesco

Genesco revealed higher earnings and sales in its third-quarter but lowered its full-year outlook on volatile comparable sales trends and the expectation of a continued promotional retail market through the balance of the holiday season. Earnings from continuing operations reached US$32.9m from $28.8m in the year ago period. The company said pressure on gross margins from its clearance actions offset some of the earnings upside from its "solid" top-line performance. Net sales were up 7% to $774m, while comparable sales, including same store sales and comparable e-commerce and catalogue sales, increased 7%. For the full year, Genesco has forecast adjusted diluted earnings per share in the range of $4.50 to $4.60, compared to previously guidance of $4.70 to $4.80. 

Express

US apparel retailer Express said it maintained a balanced approach to running the business in the third quarter, using promotions with "restraint" and managing inventory with "discipline". As a result, earnings grew 80.1% to US$26.3m, while gross margin expanded 330 basis points to 35%. Net sales were up 10% to $546.6m and comparable sales increased 6% from a 5% in the third quarter of last year. E-commerce sales were up 6% to $83.8m.

Stifel analyst, Richard Jaffe, noted: "Customers responded positively to the company's merchandise. A lean inventory position enabled the company to capitalize on one of its core competencies - testing product and quickly chasing into strong selling merchandise, driving sales and reducing the need for promotions."

Sears Holdings

Sears Holdings narrowed its losses in the third quarter thanks to enhanced financial flexibility and reducing its reliance on inventory as a source of financing. Net loss amounted to US$454m from a loss of $548m a year earlier. Gross margin narrowed slightly to 21% from 22.2% last year, while sales were down 19.4% to $5.8bn as a result of actions by the company to streamline operations and focus on its transformation into a "member-centric" retailer. 

Neil Saunders, CEO of Conlumino, noted: "Like other retailers, Sears suffered from a warmer than average third quarter which was unhelpful to apparel sales and margins across both of its businesses. Given that this is a critical area for the company it is unsurprising that this quarter's margins were somewhat weaker than average."

Destination Maternity

Destination Maternity said that while the quarter presented "significant challenges" and results were slower to materialise than it would have liked, that it believes the right strategies are in place to deliver a "sustained improvement" in sales and profitability. In the third quarter, GAAP net losses amounted to US$1.3m, as a result of relocation charges and organisational changes, from a GAAP net loss of $1.2m a year earlier. Gross margin was up slightly to 50.5% from 50.1% thanks to less price promotional and markdown activity. Total sales dropped to $119.5m from $125.1m a year earlier, while comparable sales were down 3.6%, negatively impacted by both internal and external factors. 

"Externally, we were not immune from the tough retail environment, facing decreased traffic and unseasonably warm weather," the company said.  "Internally, the completed move to our new distribution centre presented some transitional challenges in August and September, adversely impacting both web fulfilment and store deliveries."

Dollar General 

Dollar General said it executed well in a retail environment very similar to the second quarter as it revealed third-quarter earnings and sales growth, and upped its full-year guidance. Net income was up 7.2% to US$253m, while gross profit was up 19 basis points to 30.3% thanks to an improved inventory shrink rate and lower transportation costs. Net sales increased 7.3% to $5.07bn, while same-store sales grew 2.3% with increases in both customer traffic and average transaction value. For the full year, the company now expects net sales to increase by around 8%, with same-store sales expected to increase 2.5% to 2.8%. Diluted EPS is expected in the range of $3.87 to $3.92.

Dollar General's fiscal 2015 third quarter ended on 30 October, which excluded Halloween day. Halloween day was included in the company's fiscal 2014 third quarter. 

Zumiez Inc

Zumiez has maintained a cautious outlook for the remainder of the year as it booked lower earnings and sales in its third-quarter. Net income fell to US9.7m from $15.7m last year, while gross margin narrowed to 34.3% from 36.5% last year. Earnings results for 2014 included costs of $0.6m for charges associated with the acquisition of Blue Tomato. Total sales dropped 4.2% to $204.3m, and comparable sales fell 7.3%. With a "slow start" to the fourth quarter and "tougher sales comparisons ahead", the company remained cautious in its fourth-quarter outlook. It is forecasting sales in the range of $226m to $231m, resulting in net income per diluted share of around $0.40 to $0.46. This is based on an anticipated comparable sales decrease in the 14% to 16% range.

Stifel analyst, Richard Jaffe, noted: "We believe that Zumiez is a well-run business with a corporate culture that is engaging for the consumer and effective in generating earnings growth. However, given the recent volatility in the business and little visibility for improvement in the near term, at the current stock price ($13.90), we believe much of the good news is in the stock, therefore the reward potential is limited and risk, given the fashion content, remains significant."

J Crew

J Crew has appointed Ann Inc finance chief, Michael Nicholson, to the role of CFO and COO, effective from 11 January, as it revealed wider losses and slower sales in the quarter. Net losses amounted to US$759.7m compared to a loss of $607.8m in the third quarter of last year. Gross margin narrowed to 38.6% from 40.2% in the prior year, and revenues fell 6% to $619.4m. Comparable sales were down 11%. J.Crew sales declined 9% to $526.9m, and J.Crew comparable sales fell 12%.

CEO, Millard Drexler, said: "While fiscal 2015 has been challenging, we have seen an encouraging response to our recent product and merchandising strategies. Our team is focused on having a successful holiday season and we continue to execute on our plans to deliver improved performance over the longer term." 

Aeropostale 

US casual apparel retailer Aeropostale narrowed its net loss during the third quarter, despite a disappointing sales performance. For the three months to 31 October, net loss amounted to $26.4m, compared to a loss of $52.3m in the same period a year ago. Sales declined 20% to $363.3m from $452.9m, and comparable sales, including the e-commerce channel, were down 10%. 

Conlumino analyst Carter Harrison said: "In what can only be descried as a disastrous set of sales results, Aeropostale continues to lose custom at a breakneck pace."

Harrison added: "In our view, the majority of the blame for poor performance lies squarely with Aeropostale which has failed to realign itself to the changing fashion demands of younger shoppers."

PVH Corp 

Apparel giant PVH Corp said it was "pleased" with its third-quarter performance, which exceeded its expectations. Net income amounted to $221.9m during the three months to 31 October, down 1.7% from $225.7m in the same period of last year. Sales fell 3% to $2.16bn from $2.23bn. And sales at the company's Calvin Klein business were flat, while Tommy Hilfiger and Heritage Brands each declined 5%. 

American Eagle Outfitters 

American Eagle Outfitters saw its third-quarter profit jump 723.3%, thanks to record sales and margin growth. Net income reached $74.1m for the three months to 31 October, compared to $9m in the same period of the prior year. Revenue increased 8% to a record $919m from $854m last year, while comparable sales grew 9%. Gross margin rose 310 basis points to 40%, with 250 basis points attributable to lower markdowns. 

Conlumino analyst Neil Saunders noted: "This year has been one in which American Eagle Outfitters has managed to pull itself out of the mire. It has emerged as a stronger, leaner player with a much more distinct point of view. We believe that it will build on this progress in the final quarter and beyond."

New York & Co

New York & Co narrowed its net loss in the third quarter, helped by higher sales and margin improvement. Net loss totalled $5.3m for the 13 weeks to 31 October, compared to $9.7m in the same period a year ago. Sales increased 4.5% to $219.8m from $210.3m last year, while comparable store sales rose 4.9%. Gross margin grew 180 basis points, due to reduced product costs, lower buying expenses and improved leverage of fixed occupancy costs.

Pacific Sunwear 

Action sports and lifestyle retailer Pacific Sunwear of California saw its third-quarter loss widen, due in part to a significantly lower non-cash gain. For the three months to 31 October, net loss amounted to $3.4m, compared to a loss of $500,000 in the same period of the prior year. Sales fell 3% to $205.9m from $212.3m a year ago, and comparable store sales were also down 3%. 

G-III Apparel Group 

G-III Apparel Group has reported what it says was a "strong" third-quarter but lowered its full-year earnings guidance to reflect expected softness in consumer spending and reduced traffic in the fourth quarter. Net income reached US$87.2m from $80.6m a year earlier, while gross margin widened to 37% from 36.3%. Sales were up 12% to $910m. Despite the increases, the company adjusted its full-year guidance. It continues to expect net sales of around $2.4bn, but has lowered its earnings forecast to between $124m and $131m from previous guidance of $129m and $134m.

Shoe Carnival

Footwear retailer Shoe Carnival has revealed a mixed third-quarter as earnings fell but sales climbed on the back of strong athletic and women's fashion boot sales. Net earnings dropped to US$9.4m from $10.8m a year earlier, while gross margin remained unchanged at 30.1%. The company said it saw SG&A expenses in the period increase by $7.2m. Sales, however, were up 5.9% to $269.7m, while comparable store sales grew 6%. Looking to the fourth quarter, the firm said unseasonably warm weather has impacted boot sales and overall comparable store sales. For the full year it expects net sales in the range of $980m to $987m, with a comparable store sales increase of around 3%. Earnings per diluted share are expected in the range of $1.38 to $1.43.

Caleres 

Caleres, formerly known as Brown Shoe Co, has said it delivered a good performance during the third quarter despite a challenging retail environment. Net earnings reached $34m for the 13 weeks to 31 October, up 2.6% from $33.1m in the same period of the prior year. Sales edged down 0.1% to $728.6m from $729.3m a year ago. Famous Footwear sales climbed 1.6%, while Brand Portfolio sales fell 2.8%. Gross margin slipped 30 basis points to 39.6% from 39.9%. The company said it expects annual net sales of $2.61bn, gross margin to be up 15-20 basis points, and adjusted earnings per share of $1.95-2.00. 

Citi Trends 

Value fashion retailer Citi Trends swung to a profit during the third quarter, helped by higher sales. Net income amounted to $600,000 for the three months to 31 October, compared to a loss of $2.2m in the same period of the prior year. Sales increased 1.4% to $158.9m from $156.7m last year, while comparable store sales edged down 0.5% in the quarter. 

Burlington Stores

US fashion retailer Burlington Store has moved to a profit in its third-quarter thanks to increased traffic, and higher sales. Net income reached US$15.1m from a loss of $34.2m a year earlier. Gross margin expanded ten basis points to 39.8%. Product sourcing costs were flat to last year, while total sales grew 6.4% to $1.23bn. Comparable store sales were up 2.8%. For the full year, Burlington is forecasting sales to increase in the range of 5.8% to 6.3%, and comparable store sales to increase between 2% to 2.5%. Adjusted earnings per share are expected in the range of $2.28 to $2.32.

Guess Inc

US fashion business Guess Inc has revealed a decline in earnings in its third-quarter on lower sales weakened by the stronger US dollar. Net profit slumped 40.1% to US$12.4m from $20.8m a year earlier. Gross margin narrowed to 35.3% from 36.3%, while total sales fell 11.7% to $521m. In the Americas, retail sales were down 7% in US dollars and in Europe retail sales fell 15%, also in US dollars. For the full year, the retailer raised the lower end of its earnings guidance but said it expects lower revenue on currency fluctuations. Diluted EPS is expected in the range of $0.93 to $1.02, and sales are projected to decline between 1.5% and 0.5% in constant currency.

Dollar Tree

US discount retailer Dollar Tree has booked mixed results in its third-quarter as earnings fell on acquisition-related costs and sales soared. Net income dropped to US$51.1m from $81.9m a year earlier. Gross margin narrowed to 29.3% from 34.6%, primarily due to a lower-margin product mix for the Family Dollar business, and markdown expenses. Net sales soared 136% to $4.95bn thanks to $2.67bn in sales from the Family Dollar business. Same-store sales were up 5.9%. For the full year, the company is forecasting sales in the range of $15.45bn to $15.55bn, based on a low single-digit increase in same-store sales. Adjusted cash EPS per diluted share is expected in the range of $2.32 to $2.51.

DSW

US footwear and accessories retailer DSW has described its third-quarter performance as "disappointing" as unseasonably warm temperatures, cautious consumer spending and slower tourism contributed to weak sales trends. Earnings dropped 20.7% to US$39.3m, while gross profit narrowed by 270 bps driven by markdown activity and a valuation reserve on a special inventory purchase. Total sales fell 0.6% to $666m, while comparable sales dropped 3.9%. Despite the declines, the company reiterated its earnings guidance for the year to be in the range of $1.40 to $1.50 per share, 4% revenue growth and flat comparable sales performance for the full year.

Chico's

US women's wear retailer Chico's has booked a third-quarter loss of US$11.6m from earnings of $26.5m a year earlier due to charges of $3.1m related to the sale of its Boston Proper direct-to-consumer business. Gross margin remained flat at 54.7%, while sales dropped 3.7% to $641.2m from $665.6m a year earlier, primarily reflecting a 3.3% decrease in comparable sales and a 0.8% net decrease in selling square footage. 

UBS Investment Bank analyst, Michael Binetti, noted: "Chico's has been playing defence with inventory management, its recent restructuring, accelerated store closures, and the sale of the Boston Proper (direct) business. However, 3Q comps decelerated by 4-pts on a two-year basis (Chico's -5 pts, WHBM flat, Soma -7 pts) and gross margins were flat, illustrating that visibility on topline growth and gross margin recovery to drive a return to a double-digit op margin remains low."

Abercrombie & Fitch Co

Abercrombie & Fitch has posted a higher quarterly profit as the teen apparel retailer pulled back from discounts in the period. Earnings nearly doubled to reach US$41.9m from $18.2m a year earlier, while gross margin improved to 63.7% from 62.2% last year. Sales declined 4% to $878.6m but were flat on a constant currency basis. Comparable sales dropped 1%. Revenues at the company's namesake chain were down 5%, but up 3% at Hollister.

Stifel analyst Richard Jaffe, noted: "Looking forward, we believe the current floorsets at both Abercrombie and Hollister are trend right, likely driving increased full priced sales, better conversion and sequential comp improvement."

Foot Locker

US speciality athletic retailer Foot Locker has revealed a mixed third-quarter as earnings fell on charges, but sales and gross margin improved. Net income dropped to US$80m from $120m a year earlier as a result of a $100m pre-tax litigation charge. Gross margin, however, widened to 33.8% from 33.2% a year earlier. Total sales were up 3.6% to $1.79bn, while comparable store sales increased 8.7%.

FB&R analyst Susan Anderson, noted: "We believe that Foot Locker is executing at a high level, with strong athletic footwear market growth as a secular tailwind."

Destination XL Group

Big and tall men's wear retailer Destination XL has narrowed its third-quarter net loss but offered a cautious full-year outlook as a result of a slower-than-expected increase in fourth-quarter sales from its cold-weather assortments. Net losses amounted to US$5.5m in the period, from a loss of $6.3m a year earlier. Gross margin benefited from an improvement in occupancy costs and lower markdowns, widening to 45% from 43.3%. Total sales rose 6.4% to $99.6m thanks to comparable DXL stores, which increased 4.3% to $3.5m. For the full year, the retailer now expects total sales of $438m to $440m from previous guidance of $438m to $443m, and comparable sales of 4% to 4.5%, from previous guidance of 5.6%.

Stage Stores

US department store retailer Stage Stores widened its loss during the quarter. For the three months to 31 October, net loss amounted to $10.2m, compared to a loss of $5.m in the same period a year ago. Sales fell 3.5% to $351.6m from $364.2m last year, and comparable sales each were also down 3.5%.

Stein Mart 

Stein Mart narrowed its net loss to $200,000 during the three months to 31 October, compared to a loss of $1.2m in the same period of the prior year. Sales slipped 1% to $300.7m, while comparable store sales were down 2.3%. Gross margin dropped to 27.3% from 27.8% a year ago. The company said its performance was severely impacted by unseasonably warm weather. 

Cato Corp 

Cato Corp said its third quarter performance exceeded its latest guidance, with its profit up 46%. Net income reached $8.3m during the three months to 31 October, compared to $5.7m in the same period of the prior year. Sales were up 4% to $223.3m from $213.8m last year, while comparable store sales rose 2%. Gross margin increased to 37.2% from 36.3%.

Bon Ton Stores

The Bon Ton Stores more than doubled its net loss during the quarter, with sales and margins also falling. Net loss amounted to $34m for the 13 weeks to 31 October, compared to a loss of $11m in the same period a year ago. Sales declined 3% to $623.4m from $642.7m last year, while comparable store sales fell 2.6%. Gross margin rate dropped 286 basis points to 33.4%. The company said its results were "challenged" as sales were pressured by unseasonably warm weather, which significantly impacted its cold-weather classifications, and by continued weakness in overall traffic trends.

The Buckle

The Buckle saw net profit decline 11.6% during the third quarter, weighed down by lower sales. For the three months to 31 October, net income amounted to $35.9m, down from $40.6m in the same period a year ago. Sales fell 4.1% to $280.2m from $292.2m last year, while comparable store sales were down 5.2%. Online sales increased 13.6% to $25.9m.

Perry Ellis International 

Perry Ellis International has raised its full-year outlook after returning to profit in the third quarter. Net income reached $2.3m for the three months to 31 October, compared to a loss of $437,000 in the same period of the prior year. However, revenue fell 2.8% to $205.4m from $211.4m last year. Gross margin improved 240 basis points to 35.7% from 33.3% a year ago. The company now expects full-year adjusted earnings per share to be between $1.81 and $1.88, compared to its previous guidance range of $1.78-1.85. 

Ross Stores

Ross Stores has lifted its full-year guidance after posting a better-than-expected third-quarter performance. Net earnings reached $215.7m for the 13 weeks to 31 October, up 11.9% from $192.7m in the same period a year ago. Sales grew 7% to $2.783bn from $2.60bn with comparable store sales up 3%. Operating margin rose 30 basis points year-on-year to 12.1%. The company now expects annual earnings per share to range from $2.45-2.48, up from its earlier guidance of $2.40-2.45.

L Brands 

L Brands, owner of lingerie brands Victoria's Secret and La Senza, has lifted its full-year outlook after posting a 24.4% increase in third-quarter net profit. Net income reached $164m for the three months to 31 October, compared to $131.8m in the same period of the prior year. Sales rose 7% to $2.48bn from $2.32bn last year, and comparable store sales were also up 7%. The company now expects adjusted annual earnings per share to range from $3.69-3.79, up from its earlier guidance of $3.58-3.73. 

Stifel analyst Richard Jaffe said results were $0.03 above consensus and $0.02 above its estimate and the high end of management's recently raised guidance. "Appealing assortments and a nimble inventory position drove above plan sales and continued gross margin improvement," he noted. 

Target Corp 

Target Corp has lifted its adjusted outlook for the full year, after booking a 56% increase in third-quarter net profit. For the three months to 31 October, net earnings reached $549m, up from $352m in the same period of the prior year. Sales were up 2.1% to $17.6bn from $17.3bn a year ago, with comparable sales rising 1.9% year-on-year. The company now expects full-year adjusted earnings per share to be between $4.65 and $4.75, up from its previous guidance of $4.60-4.75.

Conlumino analyst Neil Saunders believes the retailer's clothing is an area than "needs more work". He noted: "The actual product is not bad, but Target needs to up its game in terms of merchandising and product mix if it is to secure more custom. In our view, there is a slight mismatch between the home customer and the clothing shopper which means Target is less successful in terms of cross-purchasing than it could or should be."

Wal-Mart Stores

Retail behemoth Wal-Mart Stores has narrowed its full-year guidance after recording a 10.8% decline in third-quarter profit. Net income amounted to $3.4m for the three months to 31 October, compared to $3.8m in the same period a year ago. Revenue fell 1.3% to $119m from $117.4m last year. In the US, sales grew 3.8% to $70m, while international sales declined 11.4% to $33.7m, and Sam's Club fell 2.2% to $14.4m. The company now expects annual earnings per share to range from $4.50-4.65, from $4.40 to $4.70 previously. 

Conlumino analyst Neil Saunders described the results as "disappointing", adding: "In our opinion, that Wal-Mart has elected to take the long term view and sacrifice short term earnings for continued relevance over the longer term is correct."

Dick's Sporting Goods 

Dick's Sporting Goods has adjusted its full-year outlook after posting a 4% drop in third-quarter net profit. Net income amounted to $47.2m for the 13 weeks to 31 October, compared to $49.2m in the same period a year ago. Sales increased 7.6% to $1.64bn from $1.53bn last year, with same store sales up 0.4%. Gross margin improved to 29.7% from 29.6% in the prior year. The company now expects annual same store sales to be flat to an increase of 1%, down from its previous guidance of a 1-3% rise. 

TJX Companies 

Off-price retailer TJX Companies has said it is "pleased" with its third-quarter performance in which net profit and sales rose. Net income amounted to $587m for the three months to 31 October, up 1.3% from $595m in the same period in the previous year. Sales increased 5% to $7.8bn from $7.4bn last year, and comparable store sales were also up 5%. Gross margin dropped 0.4 percentage points to 29%, primarily due to transactional foreign exchange at the company's international divisions and increased supply chain costs related to a substantial increase in units sold. 

Conlumino analyst Neil Saunders noted: "Particularly impressive is the fact that TJX appears to have bucked the third quarter slowdown that affected many other retailers exposed to the apparel market. While we do believe that this was, indeed, a more subdued period for the market, TJX's various initiatives have succeeded in boosting customer traffic across all of its fascia."

Urban Outfitters 

Lifestyle retailer Urban Outfitters' third-quarter performance was significantly softer than the first two quarters of this fiscal year, despite posting a double-digit earnings increase. For the three months to 31 October, net income grew 10.3% to $52m from $47.1m in the same period of the prior year. Sales climbed 1.3% to a record $825.3m from $814.5m last year. Retail sales were up 1.9% to $765.5m, while wholesale sales fell 5.2% to $59.7m due to shipment delays at the company's new distribution facility in Gap, Pennsylvania. By brand, Urban Outfitters slipped 0.2%, while Anthropologie Group rose 2.5%, and Free People increased 2.4%. Gross margin increased 11 basis points, a reduced level of markdown activity. 

Conlumino analyst Neil Saunders said: "Surprisingly, while Urban Outfitters is up against some reasonable numbers from last year, the comparatives for this quarter are less harsh than they were in the preceding two quarters, so this cannot be used to explain the deterioration in growth."

Dillard's  

US department store retailer Dillard's has said it is "disappointed" with its third-quarter peformance, which saw net profit decline 17.2%. Net income amounted to $45.7m for the 13 weeks to 31 October, compared to $55.2m in the same period of last year. Sales edged down 1.7% to $1.44bn from $1.46bn a year ago. Total merchandise sales fell 3% to $1.38bn from $1.42bn, while comparable store sales were down 4%. Gross margin declined 30 basis points of sales. 

JC Penney 

US department store retailer JC Penney narrowed its third-quarter net loss, thanks to higher sales and margin improvement. Net loss amounted to $137m for the three months to 31 October, compared to a loss of $188m in the same period of the prior year. Sales increased 4.8% to $2.90bn from $2.76bn last year, while same store sales grew 6.4% year-on-year. Gross margin improved 70 basis points to 37.3%, driven by improvements in its clearance and promotional selling margins and supply chain productivity. 

Conlumino analyst Håkon Helgesen said: "Despite its success, JC Penney still has a very full agenda that it must work through before its recovery is complete. However, its results to date show it is headed in the right direction."

Nordstrom 

Upscale fashion retailer has lowered its full-year outlook after posting a 43% decline in third-quarter net profit, due to softer sales trends. For the three months to 31 October, net earnings amounted to $81m, down from $142m in the same period of the prior year. Sales grew 6.6% to $3.24bn from $3bn last year, while comparable store sales edged up 0.9%. Gross margin declined 163 basis points to 33.9%, primarily due to higher markdowns in addition to the planned impact of higher occupancy costs related to store growth and the increased mix of Nordstrom Rack.

The company now expects full-year earnings per share (excluding the impact of the credit transaction and other, and impact of any future share repurchases) to range from $3.40-3.50, down from its earlier guidance of $3.70 to $3.80. Sales are forecast to grow 7.5-8%, comparable store sales to rise 2.5-3% and gross margin to fall 50-60 basis points. This compares to previous expectations of 8.5-9.5%, 3.5-4.5% and between a basis point drop of 5 to an increase of 5%. 

Conlumino analyst Carter Harrison said: "Naturally, one slow quarter does not constitute a trend, and we expect Nordstrom to get back on track from next quarter onwards."

Kohl's 

Department store retailer Kohl's saw its third-quarter net profit decline 15%, hurt by a one-time cost of $38m related to its debt refinancing. Net income amounted to $120m for the three months to 31 October, compared to $142m in the same period of the prior year. Sales, however, rose 1.2% to $4.43bn from $4.37bn a year ago, while comparable store sales edged up 1%. Gross margin fell 10 basis points to 37.1% from 37.2% last year. 

Stifel analyst Richard Jaffe said the results proved to be better than expected despite the challenging apparel retail environment and warm weather during the quarter. "These results support our optimism given what appears to be the effectiveness of several key initiatives: the loyalty programme has been rolled out across the country; 900 beauty departments are scheduled to be upgraded in 2015; and most importantly, the new marketing efforts and the new merchants will likely continue to have a significant impact," he said. 

Macy's Inc

US department store retailer Macy's Inc has booked lower third-quarter sales and earnings as a slowdown in buying by international visitors continued to significantly impact results. Macy's said spending by domestic customers also remained tepid, resulting in group sales dropping to US$5.87bn from $6.19bn a year earlier. Gross margin edged up to 39.8% from 39.2%, but earnings fell 46% to $117m on charges related to store closures. The retailer lowered its full-year outlook, and now expects sales to be down 2.7% to 3.1% from previous guidance of 1%, and EPS in the range of $4.20 to $4.30 from $4.70 to $4.80 previously.

American Apparel

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, American Apparel has estimated a drop of 19% in sales, for the three months to the end of September, to US$126.1m. This, it says, is primarily due to a decline in comparable sales, the unfavourable impact of foreign exchange, and store closures. Gross margin is expected to have narrowed to 46.6% from 52.9% a year earlier, while net losses have improved to $18.8m from a loss of $19.2m in the prior year. 

Black Diamond 

Outdoor equipment and apparel business Black Diamond has revealed lower sales in its third-quarter and moved to a loss as foreign currency headwinds continued to bite and volume dropped in parts of Europe and Japan. Net losses amounted to US$48.1m from earnings of $20.4m a year earlier. Gross margin was down 340 basis points to 36% due to a 375 basis point headwind from forex. Sales fell 11% to $39.3m. For the full year, the company said it expects constant currency sales to be around $160m compared to $158.3m in 2014, and gross margin to increase 160 basis points to around 38% compared to 36.4% in 2014.

Iconix Brand Group

Iconix Brand Group swung to a net loss of $3m for the three months to 30 September, compared to an income of $37.1m in the same period of the prior year. Total revenues fell 19% to $88.9m from $110.3m a year ago, with licensing revenue, which makes up the majority of revenue, falling 3%, due to foreign currency exchange rates. For fiscal 2016, the company expects earnings per share to range from $1.08-$1.23 and licensing revenue to be between $370m and $390m.

Kate Spade & Co

Apparel and accessories business Kate Spade & Co returned to profit in the third quarter, driven by a strategic omni-channel approach. Net income reached $2.3m for the 13 weeks to 3 October, compared to a loss of $9.1m in the same period a year ago. Sales increased 10.7% to $277.3m from $250.4m last year. Gross margin slipped to 61.2% from 62.8% a year ago. Kate Spade North America sales rose 18.5%, while Kate Spade international sales declined 15.8%, and Adelington Design Group fell 10%. 

Conlumino analyst Neil Saunders said: "One of the key advantages that Kate Spade has at this stage in its evolution is that it remains a directional business that has not suffered from the problem of ubiquity which is currently facing so many other lifestyle brands. 

"This balancing act will become increasingly difficult as it becomes a larger entity. That said, actions like the refusal to be drawn into excessive promotional activity suggests that management has a solid understanding of the need to balance protecting brand equity with the desire to grow."

Crocs 

Crocs has said it continues to make steady progress in the strategic transformation of the US footwear firm, despite swinging to a third-quarter net loss. The company's net loss amounted to $24m for the three months to 30 September, compared to a profit of $15.8m in the same period of last year. Revenue fell 9.4% $274.1m from $302.4m. Margins were impacted by an aggressive clear out of aged and excess inventory. Crocs expects fourth-quarter revenue to range from $200-210m, down from $206.5m last year. 

Separately, the company has appointed Carrie Teffner as its new chief financial officer. She has previously held the same role at PetSmart, Weber-Stephens, and Timberland.

Weyco Group

Footwear business Weyco Group saw its net profit edge down despite booking record sales. For the three months to 30 September, net earnings amounted to $5.4m, down 3% from $5.5m in the same period a year ago. Sales increased 4% to a record $91.2m from $87.4m last year. The North American wholesale segment posted a 10% rise to reach $74.6m, while retail sales declined 11% to $4.8m. Gross margins in the US grew to 31.6% from 30.7%, but was slightly offset by lower gross margins in Canada from the weaker Canadian dollar. 

Columbia Sportswear Co 

US outdoor apparel and footwear specialist Columbia Sportswear Co has raised its full-year earnings guidance, after booking record third-quarter net profit and sales. Net income jumped 39% to $91.1m for the three months to 30 September, compared to $67.9m in the same period a year ago. Sales increased 14% to a record $767.6m from $675.3m last year, including double-digit increases from each of the company's brands and 25% growth in North America. Gross margin expanded 100 basis points to 46.4% from 45.4%. The company now expects full-year earnings per share to range from $2.32–$2.37, up from its previous guidance of $2.25–$2.35. 

FBR & Co analyst Susan Anderson described the results as "very solid across the board". She noted: "While uncertainty regarding winter weather remains, we are buyers of Columbia Sportswear as it drives EBIT margin higher via its initiatives and product execution (potentially mid teens over the next couple of years) and is recognised for its new status as an emerging growth story."

Sequential Brands 

Brand management company Sequential Brands has raised its full-year earnings and sales guidance after posting a 63% hike in third-quarter net profit. Net income reached $4.4m for the three months to 30 September, compared to $2.7m in the same period last year. Revenue jumped 130% to $23m from $10m last year.  Sequential Brands now expects full-year adjusted EBITDA to range from $50-52m, up from its earlier guidance of $48.5-$50.5m. Revenue is forecast to be between $81m and $83m, up from $78-$81m previously. 

Carter's 

Analysts remain upbeat about Carter's long-term growth, after the children's wear company posted a 20.4% increase in third-quarter net profit. Net income reached $79.3m during the three months to 3 October, compared to $65.9m in the same period of the prior year. Sales rose 6% to $850m from $798.9m last year, primarily driven by growth in the company's Carter's wholesale and US Carter's and OshKosh direct-to-consumer businesses. 

Conlumino analyst Stephen Ward said: "Looking ahead, underlying performance will remain strong – although we caution that total sales numbers are likely to fall in Q4 thanks to the comparison to a 14 week period last year."

Steve Madden 

US footwear and accessories specialist Steve Madden has lowered its full-year sales outlook despite booking a 9.4% increase in third-quarter net profit. For the three months to 30 September, net income reached $42.9m, compared to $39.2m in the same period of last year. Sales increased 5.5% to $413.5m from $392.0m in the prior year. Retail sales grew 15.8% to $357m, with same store sales rising 11.2%, while wholesale sales rose 4% to $357m. Gross margin improved 130 basis points to 36% from 34.7% a year ago. However, based on lower-than-anticipated back half sales in its private label footwear business, Steve Madden now expects full-year net sales to rise 6-7%, down from its previous guidance of 7-9%. Earnings per share guidance remains at $1.85 to $1.95.

VF Corp 

US apparel giant VF Corp has lowered its full-year outlook after reporting a drop in third-quarter net profit. Net income amounted to $459.9m for the three months to 3 October, down 2% from $470.5m in the same period in the prior year. Net sales rose 3% to $3.58bn from $3.49bn last year. The company's outdoor and action sports division posted a 5% gain to $2.3bn, jeanswear was flat at $748m, imagewear was also flat at $292m. Sportswear revenue edged down 1% to $162m, while the contemporary brands division saw revenue decline 16% to $83m. International revenue fell 5%, weighed down by Europe, while direct-to-consumer revenue increased 3% year-on-year. Gross margin was down 40 basis points to 47.9%, due to foreign currency headwinds. The owner of the Vans, Timberland, and The North Face brands now expects full-year earnings per share to be $3.18, down from its previous guidance of $3.22, while currency neutral revenue is forecast to increase 7.5%, below its earlier expectations for 8% growth.

Skechers USA

Footwear business Skechers USA booked a 30.3% hike in net profit. Net earnings reached $66.6m for the three months to 30 September, compared to $51.1m in the same period of the prior year. Sales grew 27% to a record $856.2m from $674.3m last year despite the sluggish macro domestic retail environment and declining currency in several key markets. Domestic wholesale sales increased 11.8%, while its international wholesale business saw sales jump 52.9%. Retail sales were up 20.9% year-on-year, including a 10.4% rise in comparable store sales. Gross margin was flat at 45.2%.  

Cabela's 

Outdoor and camping retailer Cabela's has said it has a number of initiatives underway to improve new store productivity and profitability, after reporting an 18.9% decline in profit. For the three months to 26 September, net income amounted to $43.7m, compared to $53.8m in the same period of last year. Revenue increased 4.6% to $926.5m from $886m a year ago, while comparable store sales fell 4.2%. Retail store revenue increased 6.5% to $637.8m and direct revenue declined 7.9% to $161.6m. The company said it plans to open seven stores in 2016, followed by no more than that in 2017. 

Under Armour 

Performance wear specialist Under Armour has lifted its full-year outlook, after booking a double-digit increase in third-quarter net profit. Net income reached US$100m for the three months to 30 September, up 13% from $89m in the same period a year ago. Net revenues increased 28% to $1.20bn from $938m last year. Apparel revenues grew 23% to $866m, footwear revenues jumped 61% to $196m, while accessories revenues rose 22% to $104m. Gross margin, however, slipped to 48.8% from 49.6%. The company now expects full-year net revenues to rise $3.91bn, up from its earlier guidance of $3.84bn, representing growth of 27% over 2014. Operating income is predicted to reach $408m, compared to its previous forecast of $405-408m. 

FBR & Co analyst Susan Anderson said: "While there are concerns regarding warm weather affecting 4Q revenue growth, we believe the risk is the upside and see potential upside to +28%, driven by accelerating footwear momentum, apparel execution and direct-to-consumer execution." 

Rocky Brands 

US apparel and footwear company Rocky Brands posted a 41.9% decline in profit, reflecting softer than expected demand in its work and hunting categories. Net income amounted to $1.8m for the three months to 30 September, compared to $3.1m in the same period of the prior year. Sales fell 3.7% to $70m from $72.7m a year ago. Wholesale sales fell 12% to $54.7m, while retail sales grew 8.4% to $10.3m and military sales increased more than fourfold to $5.1m. Gross margin fell 180 basis points to 31.6%.

Wolverine Worldwide 

US clothing and footwear business Wolverine Worldwide has lowered its full-year outlook, after posting a 20.6% decline in third-quarter net profit. Net earnings amounted to US$46m for the 12 weeks to 12 September, compared to $57.9m in the same period of last year. Revenue to $678.9m from $711.1m in the prior year, while gross margin was flat at 40%. The company now expects full-year earnings per share to range from $1.28-1.31, compared to its earlier guidance of $1.39-1.46. Revenue is forecast to be between $2.69 and $2.71, down from its earlier expectations of $2.82-2.85bn, representing a 2.6-1.8% fall year-on-year.