A round-up of Q1s from  US retailers and manufacturers

A round-up of Q1s from US retailers and manufacturers

In the most recent first-quarter filings from US apparel brands and retailers, Urban Outfitters and American Eagle Outfitters both revealed strong results, while JC Penney narrowed its net losses but booked a drop in sales. Skechers, Carter's and Columbia Sportswear, meanwhile, all recorded record sales performances for the quarter, while Under Armour posted another solid quarter of revenue growth. 

The Finish Line

Athletic footwear and apparel retailer The Finish Line delivered first quarter results in line with its expectations, with net sales rising 2.3% year over year to $453.5m, and same-store sales up 1.5%. But net income in the 13 weeks to 28 May slipped 30% to $9.6m from $13.7m, which the retailer said was largely due to store closings. Earlier this year it said it planned to close up to a quarter of stores over the next few years, and CEO Sam Sato now says the company has made "further progress toward optimising our supply chain and improving execution."

Gymboree Corp

Children's apparel retailer Gymboree Corp recorded both earnings and sales growth in its first-quarter, reaffirming its full-year guidance. The company moved to a profit of US$32.8m from a loss of $23m in the year ago period thanks to a gain on extinguishment of debt of $48.8m. Gross margin widened to 40.9% from 38.2%, while net sales were up 3.2% to $285m. Comparable sales grew 4%. for the full year, Gymboree is forecasting adjusted EBITDA in the range of $120m to $135m.

Cherokee Global Brands 

Cherokee delivered positive sales results in its first-quarter as the US fashion retailer announced a new direct-to-retail partnerships and the signing of a broad base of domestic licensees for its namesake brand. GAAP net income totalled $2.6m in the quarter, including legal and due diligence and development costs of $0.7m. This compared to earnings of $3.6m a year earlier. GAAP revenues increased 4.4% to $10.7m from $10.2m in the year ago period. This was primarily due to the revenue contribution of Flip Flop Shops, which the company acquired in October 2015, in addition to an increase of 3% in worldwide Cherokee brand royalties.

"In addition to the positive sales results for the quarter, we were pleased to announce new direct-to-retail partnerships and the signing of a broad base of domestic licensees for our namesake Cherokee brand," said CEO  Henry Stupp. "We see these developments as strong indicators of the strength of our brand portfolio and the agility that our 360-degree platform brings to our partners."

Tailored Brands, Inc

Tailored Brands issued mixed first-quarter results as the fashion retailer navigated the "difficult consumer and retail environment" and cycled a strong performance in last year's comparable quarter. Earnings dropped to $1.6m from $10.4m a year earlier, while gross margin narrowed to 42.4% from 43.1%. Sales were down 6.4% to $828.8m.

"Importantly, we are making progress on our transition plan for Tailored Brands," said CEO Doug Ewert. "We are executing on our profit improvement programme, organisational realignment, store base rationalisation, and cost reductions. We remain committed to stabilising, re-sizing, and rebuilding the foundation of the Jos. A. Bank business to a base from which we can profitably grow on a go-forward basis.

Oxford Industries

Oxford Industries said the business was impacted by the well-publicised weakness in the retail environment, particularly in fashion apparel. Sales dropped to $256.2m from $260.4m in the prior quarter, while gross margin increased slightly to 59.4% compared to 59.3% in the prior year period. Net income grew to $20.2m from $17.2m a year previous.  

CEO Thomas Chubb, said: "Clearly, our businesses were impacted by the well-publicised weakness in the retail environment, particularly in fashion apparel. At Tommy Bahama, soft demand and reduced traffic in the marketplace were exacerbated by a year-over-year shift in the cadence of an important loyalty card promotion from April to May. While April was weaker than we expected, we are encouraged by the strength Tommy Bahama has been exhibiting to date in the second quarter."

G-III Apparel Group, Ltd

G-III Apparel has reaffirmed it guidance for the full year, despite revealing a drop in first-quarter earnings. Net income dropped to US$2.8m from $6.8m a year earlier, while sales grew 6% to $457.4m from $433m in the year ago period. CEO Morris Goldfarb, said fiscal 2017 got off to a strong start in uts wholesale business, particularly with respect to Calvin Klein products and its dress businesses including Eliza J and the newly launched Tommy Hilfiger dress line. He added: "Although our own retail businesses did not perform to plan, we expect many of the measures we are taking to improve top and bottom line performance for these businesses in the second half of the year." Despite the drop, the company reaffirmed its full-year guidance for net sales of around $2.56bn, and net income of between $120m and $125m, or a range between $2.55 and $2.65 per diluted share.

Guess

US fashion business Guess swung to a first quarter loss, with restructuring charges, a negative tax impact, and currency fluctuations helping push the retailer into the red. The company reported a net loss of $25.2m in the three months to 30 April, compared with a profit of $3.3m a year earlier. Total net revenue slipped 6% to $448.8m from $478.8m, with declines in all regions. During the quarter the company initiated a global cost reduction and restructuring plan to streamline its structure and reduce expenses. CEO Victor Herrerro noted: "The start to the year has been a bit more challenging than we anticipated especially in the Americas and to a lesser extent in Greater China. We are still confident that we will be able to achieve [our] three year plan goals, but with a different cadence than initially planned."

Burlington Stores

Off-price apparel retailer Burlington Stores posted sales growth and profit growth in its first-quarter and is raising its full year outlook based on the results. Net income increased 46.0% to $37.5m, up from $25.7m a year earlier. Net sales increased 8.4% to $1.28bn, including a 4.3% rise in comparable store sales and an increase of $52.6m from new and non-comparable stores. Gross margin improved by 35 basis points to 40.1% during the quarter. For the full fiscal year 2016, the company now expects net sales to increase in the range of 7.1% to 7.6%, and comparable store sales to increase between 3.0% to 3.5%. The company also plans to open 25 net new stores.

Sears Holdings

Department store retailer Sears widened its net loss in the first quarter and saw sales tumble. Net losses amounted to $471m from $303m in the prior year, while gross margin narrowed to 21.8% from 25.8% in the year ago quarter. Net sales dropped to $5.39bn from $5.88bn a year ago. Kmart and Sears Domestic comparable store sales declined 5% and 7.1%, respectively. CEO Edward Lampert, said: "We continue to focus on improving the overall performance of these businesses through changes to our assortment, sourcing, pricing and inventory management practices. We remain focused on restoring Sears Holdings to profitability by concentrating on our best stores, our best members and our best categories through innovative solutions leveraging our Shop Your Way membership program and our Integrated Retail offerings."

Neil Saunders, CEO of Conlumino, noted: "Sears is like a strange rollercoaster that only ever travels in one direction – downward! While its latest results are not surprising, they are nonetheless disappointing in that they show no real signs of improvement since the prior quarter. Indeed, when the numbers are set against the context of the same quarter last year, when revenues declined by 25%, they are incredibly soft and indicate that America's once largest retailer is still in trouble."

Abercrombie & Fitch

Teen retailer Abercombie & Fitch said it battled significant traffic headwinds in the first quarter, particularly in international markets and the group's US flagship and tourist stores. Losses amounted to $39.6m from $63.2m a year earlier, while gross margin improved 410 basis points to 62.1% thanks to higher average unit retails. Net sales were down 3% to $685.5m, while comparable sales dropped 4%. By brand, Abercrombie sales were down 5% to $323.3m, while Hollister sales fell 2% to $362.1m. Arthur Martinez, executive chairman, said: "Overall, our business remains well-managed in these challenging times, with our assortment and customer-centricity efforts driving improved conversion, and expense and inventory well controlled.

Neil Saunders, CEO of Conlumino, noted: "The question for the year ahead is whether A&F's health will improve or whether it will continue to worsen. On balance we err on the side of recovery being the most likely outcome, with the US business driving that better performance. Stronger fall and winter ranges, plus a pay-off from better marketing as well as a slight recovery in overall market conditions for apparel bode well for the second half of the year. The near-term outcome for the second quarter is, however, a little less optimistic."

Chico's

Chico's has outlined new initiatives to improve its supply chain, enhance marketing efforts and leverage non-merchandise procurement as it revealed a fall in earnings. The new initiatives are expected to reduce complexity and standardise processes across the organisation, thereby improving the company's ability to respond in real-time to changes in customer demand for merchandise. Net income amounted to $31.1m from $32.5m a year earlier. Adjusted net income, taking account of restructuring and strategic charges, amounted to $33.4m. Net sales dropped 7.9% to $643m, which included $25.3m related to the sale of its Boston Proper direct-to-consumer business.

PVH Corp

Apparel giant PVH Corp has upped its full-year guidance as it revealed higher earnings and sales in its first-quarter. Net income reached $231.6m from $114.1m in the year ago period. Revenues were up 3% on a constant currency basis, and 2% on a GAAP basis, to $1.92bn, compared to the prior year's revenue of $1.88bn. The Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger businesses outperformed revenue expectations, the company said. For the full year, PVH now expects EPS guidance in the range of $6.45 to $6.55 on a non-GAAP basis, which includes a negative impact of $1.55 per share related to foreign currency exchange rates. Previous guidance was $6.30 to $6.50. CEO Emanuel Chirico, said: "We are very pleased with our first quarter 2016 results, which exceeded our expectations despite the difficult retail environment experienced in the US market. Our Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger businesses were the highlight, with significant strength demonstrated by our international businesses. Outperformance in Europe and China further demonstrated the power of our brands in key markets and their ability to post growth against a challenging macroeconomic environment."

J Crew Group

US fashion retailer J Crew Group narrowed its net loss in the first quarter but saw sales slide on a drop in accessory sales. Losses amounted to $8m from $462m a year earlier, as a result of an impairment charges. Gross margin narrowed to 36.1% from 37.2%, while net sales were down 3% to $567.5m. Comparable sales fell 7% following a decrease of 8% in the first quarter last year. CEO Millard Drexler, said: "Overall, we have been aggressive in managing all aspects of our business in a challenging retail environment while continuing to focus on delivering the very best product and brand experience for our customers across all channels. We look forward to the contributions from our assortment and merchandising strategies within our J Crew brand, the continued growth of Madewell and Mercantile and other key operational initiatives including our SG&A, sourcing and supply chain optimisation programmes."

Tilly's

Apparel, footwear and accessories retailer Tilly's has issued an optimistic outlook, despite moving to a loss in its first-quarter. Losses amounted to $2.7m from earnings of $1.3m a year earlier. On a non-GAAP basis, excluding a tax-effected $1m legal provision, net loss was $1.7m. Gross margin dropped to 27.1% from 30% last year due to occupancy costs, increased markdowns, and distribution costs. Total sales were $120.2m, flat to last year, while comparable store sales were down 4.1%. CEO Ed Thomas, said: "Looking ahead, we expect to launch some important initiatives during the second quarter that we believe will improve the business for the long term, despite the current challenges affecting retail in general."

Express Inc

Express has offered an optimistic outlook, despite earnings and sales tumbling in its first-quarter. Net income dropped to $12.9m from $13.1m in the year ago period. When adjusted for $11.4m of non-core expenses, adjusted net income amounted to $19.8m. Gross margin widened slightly to 33.4% from 33.1% in last year's first quarter. Net sales remained relatively flat at $502.9m versus $502.4m in the year ago period, while comparable sales were down 3%.

Stifel analyst, Richard Jaffe, noted: "We are optimistic that sales trends will improve with the onset of more favorable weather, possibly providing upside to management's cautious guidance. Longer-term we expect sales growth and operating margin expansion driven by: an improved merchandise assortment fueled by chasing into strong selling merchandise, increased newness, better systems, real estate rationalization, outlet and e-commerce growth and more compelling marketing."

The Buckle, Inc 

The Buckle saw both earnings and sales tumble in its first-quarter. Net profit dropped to $23.1m from $33.6m a year earlier. Gross margin widened to 61% from 58% in the prior year, while net sales were down 10.2% to $243.5m from revenues of $271.3m last year. The figure is net of a $3m adjustment recorded as a reduction to revenue to accrue for estimated future rewards related to the company's new Guest Loyalty programme, which launched during the quarter. Comparable store sales were down 11.1%.

Destination XL Group, Inc.

Destination XL has offered an optimistic outlook for the remainder of the year as it moved to a profit in its first-quarter and revealed higher sales. Net income amounted to $0.2m versus a net loss of $0.6m in the year ago period. Gross margin narrowed slightly to 46.1% from, 46.2% last year as a result of a 10-basis-point increase in occupancy costs. Total sales were up 3.3% to $107.9m, primarily driven by a comparable sales increase of 5.8% from its DXL stores. Group comparable sales were up 2%. "Our first-quarter results demonstrate the continued strength of the DXL concept, which drove solid growth in sales and profitability even as persistent cooler weather affected much of the retail apparel industry," said CEO David Levin. "Despite a slow start in certain warm weather categories, we remain upbeat in our outlook for 2016. We are confident in our merchandise assortments, and we expect sales growth to improve in the second quarter with the arrival of a consistent, warmer weather pattern, which will drive traffic to both our stores and website."

Foot Locker 

US speciality athletic retailer Foot Locker has record its most profitable quarter in company history, as earnings reached $191m from $184m a year earlier. The gross margin rate remained stable year-over-year at 35% of sales. Total revenues were up 3.7% to $1.99bn, while comparable store sales grew 2.9%. Excluding the effect of foreign currency fluctuations, total sales for the first quarter increased 3.9%. CEO Richard Johnson, said: "Our team navigated well through a variety of challenges, not least of which were rapidly-shifting product category preferences by our customers, to achieve our 25th consecutive quarter of meaningful sales and profit increases over the prior year. Never has it been more apparent how important is the work that we have done to build leadership positions across channels, geographies, banners, and product categories."

Shoe Carnival, Inc.

Shoe Carnival booked record revenues in its first-quarter thanks to its new multi-channel sales initiative. Net sales were up $7.7m to reach $260.5m, while comparable sales grew 2.7%, the seventh consecutive quarterly increase. Gross margin narrowed to 29% from 29.5% in the prior year, but earnings edged up to $107.7m from $10.4m last year. CEO Cliff Sifford, said: "Our record first-quarter sales and diluted earnings per share were driven by continued strength in athletic footwear for the entire family and tight expense control. Unseasonably warm temperatures helped drive sales early in the quarter, and though cold weather did impact our Easter holiday performance, we generated positive momentum late in the quarter when more seasonal conditions returned."

New York & Company, Inc.

New York & Co widened its losses in the first-quarter as a result of a slowdown in traffic to its brick-and-mortar stores. GAAP net losses amounted to $5.7m from a loss of $4.7m a year earlier. Excluding $2.9m of non-operating charges, the prior year's first quarter non-GAAP adjusted net loss was $1.8m. Gross margin dropped 110 basis points to 27.7% due to increased markdowns, shipping costs associated with the significant growth in the company's e-commerce sales, and buying and occupancy expense. Net sales fell to $216m from $223.4m, while comparable store sales decreased 2.3%. CEO Gregory Scott, said: "We began the quarter with positive sales trends; however, as we entered the last week of March, we experienced a slowdown in traffic to our brick-and-mortar stores, that continued into April, and led to sales and profitability below our expectations. This change in traffic was inconsistent with our quarter-to-date trend, and impacted our performance heading into the Easter holiday."

Ross Stores, Inc

Ross Stores booked a strong performance in its first-quarter, despite what it says were tough prior-year comparisons. Earnings reached $291m from $282m a year earlier, while net sales increased 5% to $3.09bn. Comparable store sales were up 2% on top of a strong 5% gain in the first quarter of 2015. CEO Barbara Rentler, said: "Even though we faced our strongest prior year comparisons, sales performed at the high end of guidance, while earnings per share were slightly above our targeted range. Operating margin for the period of 15.4% was down from last year, but slightly above plan, mainly due to higher merchandise margins that partially offset the expected impact from the unfavourable timing of packaway-related costs."

Dick's Sporting Goods

Dick's Sporting Goods has offered an optimistic outlook despite booking a mixed first-quarter. Consolidated net income dropped to $56.9m in the quarter, from $63.3m in the year ago period. Net sales climbed 6.1% to $1.7bn, while consolidated same store sales edged up 0.5%. Same store sales for Dick'S Sporting Goods increased 0.4%, while Golf Galaxy increased 1.7%. CEO Edward Stack, said: "We are pleased to have delivered first-quarter earnings at the high end of our expectations in a challenging retail environment. The consolidation that is occurring among sporting goods retailers is creating a unique time in the industry. Given the expected near-term liquidation activity in the market, we have adjusted our guidance to contemplate this dynamic. Over the longer term, we remain confident in our ability to aggressively capture displaced market share and to strengthen our leadership position."

Wal-Mart Inc

US retail giant Wal-Mart has offered an upbeat view of the second quarter as it revealed better than expected revenues in its first and said solid sales growth was seen from apparel during the period. Revenue edged up 0.9% to $115.9bn, and rose 4% excluding currency impacts. Comparable store sales were up 1%, marking the seventh straight quarterly gain. Earnings amounted to $3.08bn, or $0.98 per share, down 7.8% from $3.34bn, or $1.03 per share a year earlier. Wal-Mart had forecast earnings of $0.80 to $0.95 per share. For the second quarter, the company said it expects earnings between $0.95 and $1.08 per share.

Neil Saunders, CEO of Conlumino, said: "Given its torrid final quarter, Wal-Mart can take some comfort from the fact that it has started its new fiscal year in positive territory in terms of overall net revenue. However, a rise of 0.9% remains sluggish and reflects the global pressures on the business."

Urban Outfitters, Inc. 

Urban Outfitters has revealed what it says was "record" first-quarter sales and improved gross margins thanks to more compelling product assortments, improved inventory management and stronger marketing. Total sales were up 3% to $763m, while comparable retail sales edged up 1%. Comparable sales increased 2% at Urban Outfitters, were flat at the Anthropologie Group and decreased 2% at Free People. Wholesale revenues were up 16%. Gross margin widened 100 basis points versus the year ago period, while earnings dropped to $29.6m from $32.8m in the prior year. 

FBR & Co analyst Susan Anderson, noted: "Women's apparel performed well; expanded categories (intimates, beauty, shoes, home, decor, electronics, and entertainment) excelled. Men's apparel and accessories were negative but improved throughout the quarter."

American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.

American Eagle Outfitters said it benefited from compelling merchandise, strategic investments and solid execution across the organisation in its first-quarter as earnings soared to $40.5m from $29.1m a year earlier. Gross margin improved 170 basis points to 39.2% thanks to occupancy cost leverage and favourable product costs. Total sales were up 7% to $749m, while comparable sales increased 6%. 

Stifel analyst, Richard Jaffe, noted: "Out of the teen's space, we believe American Eagle Outfitters is successfully adapting to the change in consumer shopping habits. With it's focus on authenticity (no photoshopping in Aerie ads), cohesive, on-trend, brand appropriate assortments and fabric innovations (flex denim), it is staying relevant to the teen consumer, in our opinion, likely driving continued sales and margin gains."

L Brands, Inc

L Brands has lowered its full-year guidance as it said revealed slowing first-quarter sales and lower earnings. For the three month period, net profit dropped to $152.3m from $250.5m a year earlier, which included severance changes. The company said it was up against a tough comparison, as the year-ago quarter included a gain of 23 cents a share from a divestiture. Net sales were up 4% to $2.61bn, while comparable sales grew 3%. For the full year, L Brands said it now expects adjusted EPS of $3.60 to $3.80, from $3.90 to $4.10 previously. May comparable sales are expected to be down low to mid-single digits versus last year.

Carter Harrison, retail analyst at Conlumino, noted: "Although L-Brands kicks off its new fiscal with a fairly reasonable set of numbers, there is nonetheless a distinct softness to the total growth rate which is significantly down on the last quarter even against a fairly reasonable prior year comparative. Same store sales growth has also halved since the end of the last fiscal year."

TJX Companies  

Off-price retailer The TJX Companies has made a solid start to the year with first-quarter earnings growth of 10% to US$508m. Net sales were up 10% to $7.5bn, while consolidated comparable store sales increased 7%. CEO Ernie Herrman, said: "It is great to start 2016 with such a strong quarter. With our excellent first-quarter results, we are raising our full-year earnings per share and comp sales guidance, and the second quarter is off to a solid start. We see many opportunities in the US and internationally for continued successful growth." For the fiscal year ending 28 January 2017, the company expects diluted earnings per share in the range of $3.35 to $3.42.

Neil Saunders, CEO of Conlumino, said: "In our view, TJX is one of the reasons that US department stores cannot succeed at the discount game. Although often crowded with stock, its shops are better presented than the full-price sections of some department stores, let alone their discount areas. Moreover, its products are genuine bargains which have been carefully found and selected with the customer in mind – rather than being a mish-mash of unpopular and unwanted apparel lines which constitute the tragic clearance sections of players like Macy's and Sears."

The Children's Place

The Children's Place has raised its guidance for the full year as it revealed higher earnings and sales in its first-quarter. Net income reached US$26m from $15.6m a year earlier, while gross margin improved 170 basis points to 39.4%. Net sales were up 3.6% to $419.4m. CEO Jane Elfers said: "These strong results further demonstrate our ability to deliver on our multi-pronged transformation strategy - superior product, business transformation through technology, global growth through alternate channels of distribution and store fleet optimisation." The company now expects adjusted net income per diluted share to be in the range of $4.17 to $4.27, inclusive of a ($0.12) negative impact from foreign exchange. 

JC Penney

US retail group JC Penney said the first quarter was challenging from a sales perspective as revenues dropped 1.6% to US$2.81bn. Gross margin was 36.2% of sales, impacted by additional markdowns due to unseasonable weather, partially offset by an improvement in clearance selling margin. Net losses, however, improved to $68m from $150m a year earlier. CEO Marvin Ellison, said: "We remain confident that our turnaround remains on track, and we are excited about our 2016 sales drivers including new Sephora locations, Center Core enhancements and our nationwide rollout of major appliances announced earlier this week.  Accordingly, we are reaffirming our $1bn in EBITDA for 2016."

Håkon Helgesen, retail analyst at Conlumino, noted: "While JC Penney is making progress, it still has a great deal more to do, especially in rebuilding its finances. However, what stands it in good stead is that it is acting and behaving like a retailer – thinking about what customers want and how to deliver. It's rivals would do well to take notice."

Nordstrom

US upscale department store retailer Nordstrom booked first-quarter earnings that were below company expectations, falling to $46m from $128m, primarily driven by lower than planned sales and higher markdowns to better align inventory to current trends. Gross margin narrowed 164 basis points to 34.2%, while net sales climbed 2.5% to $3.2bn. Comparable sales, however, fell 1.7%. CEO Blake Nordstrom, said: "Our first-quarter results were impacted by lower than expected sales. In response we have made further adjustments to our inventory and expense plans. As the pace of change in retail continues to accelerate, we remain committed to serving customers by taking steps that will continue to meet their expectations while driving profitable growth."

Dillard's Inc

Dillard's saw both earnings and sales tumble in its first-quarter revealing what CEO William Dillard described as "disappointing" results, with sales pressuring gross margin and net income performance. Earnings dropped to $77.4m from $109.6m a year earlier, while gross margin from retail operations declined 145 basis points, primarily due to higher markdowns. Net sales fell to $1.50bn from $1.57 in the prior year. Sales trends were strongest in shoes, with weaker performances from home, furnitures and ladies accessories and lingerie. In terms of geography, sales were strongest in the eastern region, followed by the central and western regions, respectively.

Phoenix Footwear Group, Inc.

Phoenix Footwear saw earnings and sales tumble in its first-quarter as a result of the planned exit from a large national retailer and a shift in the timing of sales for an occupational account and online retailer. Net sales fell 17.5% to US$1.2m, while net losses widened to $198,000 from $39,000 a year earlier. Gross margin, however, improved 240 basis points to 38% thanks to the reduction of allowances and discounts provided to a large national retailer.

Kohl's

Department store retailer Kohl's said sales were challenging in the first quarter as they fell 3.7% to $3.97bn. Despite the sales environment, the company was able to manage its gross margin, which improved 139 basis points to 35.5%. Inventory levels were consistent with expectations, the company said, as it took markdowns necessary to clear excess inventory. Earnings in the period dropped 55% to $58m from $127m. 

Håkon Helgesen, retail analyst at Conlumino, noted: "Kohl's kicks off its fiscal year with a sobering set of sales numbers and a chilling set of profit numbers. Despite the unhelpful environment and despite the fact we see this year of one of transition – and continued pressure on the bottom line – we maintain our view that Kohl's has a coherent vision for its future that aligns with the changing nature of demand."

Macy's Inc

US department store retailer Macy's said it is seeing continued weakness in consumer spending levels for apparel. In particular, the group's sales trend relative to expectations meaningfully slowed from mid-March, and first-quarter results are below its expectations. Earnings fell to US$116m from $193m a year earlier, while sales dropped 7.4% to %5.77bn as a result of 41 stores closures in 2015. Comparable sales on an owned plus licensed basis were down 5.6%, and on an owned basis declined 6.1%. Gross margin edged up to 39.1% from 39%. Macy's now expects full-year 2016 comparable sales to drop by 3-4%, while earnings per diluted share are forecast in the range of $3.15 to $3.40. This compares with previous guidance of $3.80 to $3.90.

Crocs

Crocs said it was pleased with its start to the new fiscal as the US shoe maker moved to a profit and booked higher sales. Earnings amounted to US$10.1m from a loss of $2.4m a year earlier, while sales grew 6.5% to $279.1m.Revenue increased 6.5% to $279.1 million. CEO Gregg Ribatt, said: "While operational supply chain improvements resulted in some favourable timing of wholesale shipments in the quarter compared to our initial expectations, the strong growth in our e-commerce business and positive retail comps in all regions demonstrates the meaningful progress we have made in repositioning the Crocs brand and business over the past 21 months." For the second quarter, Crocs is forecasting revenue in the $340m to $350m range.

Wolverine Worldwide

US clothing and footwear business Wolverine Worldwide said it exceeded expectations for both revenue and earnings in the quarter, reaffirming its forecast for the year. Earnings amounted to US$17.6m from $40.1m a year earlier, while gross margin narrowed to 39.6% from 41.4%. Reported revenue amounted to $577.6m versus $631.4m, exceeding guidance and consensus. For the full year, Wolverine said it expects revenue in the range of $2.47bn to $2.57bn, and adjusted diluted earnings per share in the range of $1.30 to $1.40.

Weyco Group 

Footwear business Weyco said its first-quarter proved challenging as its Canada and Australia businesses continued to be hurt by the strong US dollar. Earnings dropped to US$2.7m from $3.6m a year earlier, while net sales edged up 1.02% to $78.9m. North America retail sales reached $5.1m from $4.9m a year earlier, while same-store-sales were up 7% in the quarter. CEO Thomas Florsheim, said: "While the strength of the US dollar may continue to present challenges for us in the near term, we believe that all of our major brands have good momentum in their respective markets and are well-positioned for future growth."

VF Corp

US clothing giant VF Corp has said it is on track to deliver results consistent with its 2016 outlook, despite revealing lower first-quarter earnings and margins as a result of foreign currency headwinds. Net income dropped 10% to US$260.3m from $288.7m a year earlier, while gross margin narrowed 80 basis points to 48.2% as benefits from lower product costs were offset by changes in foreign currency. Sales were in line with last year at $2.8bn, up 2% on a currency neutral basis and driven by strength in the group's outdoor and action sports, and jeanswear coalitions and its direct-to-consumer and international businesses. International sales and Europe sales both edged up 1%, while Asia-Pacific sales grew 2 percent. Revenue in the Americas (non-US), however, were down 1%.

Carter's Inc

Children's wear retailer Carter's said it achieved a record level of sales and earnings in its first-quarter and has raised its full-year EPS guidance to growth of 10-12% from previous growth of 8-10%. Earnings in the quarter increased 8.4% to US$54m, while operating margin widened around 50 basis points to 12.8%. Net sales grew 6% to $724m, reflecting growth in the company's US Carter's and OshKosh retail and Carter's wholesale businesses as well as in its international segment.

Columbia Sportswear Co

Columbia Sportswear grew both sales and earnings in its first-quarter thanks to its diverse brand portfolio, including a high-20% growth in its US direct-to-consumer channels and low-teen percentage growth in its US wholesale channel. Earnings increased 20% to $31.8m, while net sales were up 10% to a record $525.1m. The company currently expects mid-single-digit percentage 2016 net sales growth, on a base of 2015 net sales of $2.33bn. Gross margin are forecast to improve by up to 30 basis points, and net income to increase by 9% to between $184m and $191m.

Skechers 

US footwear business Skechers recorded a record performance in its first quarter. Net profit reached US$97.6m for the three months to 31 March, compared to $56.1m in the prior year period. Sales increased 27.4% to a record $978.8m from $768m last year, thanks to its expanded product range and substantial growth across Europe, Asia, the Middle East as well as Canada and Chile. Gross margin, however, slipped to 44.2% from 43.3% a year ago. The company expects second quarter net sales to be between $875m and $900m. 

Rocky Brands

US apparel and footwear company Rocky Brands swung to a loss of US$191,450 for the three months to 31 March, compared to a profit of $1.4m last year. Sales fell 12.2% to $57.5m from $65.5m last year. Wholesale sales declined 21.2% to $40.2m from $51m, while retail sales were down 3.4% to $11.5m from $11.9m. Military segment sales jumped to $5.8m from $2.6m in the prior year. Gross margin dropped 70 basis points to 32.9% from 33.6% as the increase in military segment sales carry lower gross margins than the company's wholesale and retail segments. 

Under Armour 

Performance footwear and apparel brand Under Armour has posted another solid quarter of revenue growth, driven by higher footwear and international sales. Net jumped 63% to US$19m in the three months to 31 March. Group revenue increased 30% to $1.05bn from $805m a year earlier, while apparel sales were up 20% to $667m, and accessories sales 26% to $80m. Gross margin, however, narrowed to 45.9% from 46.9%, due to higher liquidations and the strength of the US dollar. 

Steve Madden

US footwear and accessories specialist Steve Madden has revealed first-quarter results in line with expectations, with the retail segment a particular standout, it said. Earnings edged up to US$20m from $19.8m last year, while gross margin expanded 90 basis points to 35.3%. Net sales were up 1.7% to $329.4m, while retail comparable store sales grew 10.7%. Despite the growth, CEO Edward Rosenfeld said the company remains "cautious" with respect to its outlook for the year due to the uncertain retail environment.