In the most recent third-quarter filings from US apparel and footwear brands and retailers, Sears Holdings remained optimistic despite widening its net losses, while Vince Holding blamed challenging conditions and warm weather for a fall in both earnings and sales. Abercrombie & Fitch, meanwhile, revealed a "disastrous" quarter as sales fell and earnings plummeted 80%, while American Eagle Outfitters booked record sales and its 9th consecutive quarter of profit improvement.

The Finish Line

Athletic footwear and apparel retailer The Finish Line said it is disappointed both sales and earnings fell short of its expectations in the third quarter, with net sales rising 3% year over year to US$371.7m, and same-store sales up 0.7%. In the 13 weeks to 26 November, the company made a loss of $40.4m, compared to a loss of $21.8m in the year ago period. CEO Sam Sato says The Finish Line will continue to narrow its soft goods assortment with its primary focus remaining on growing its footwear business and partnership with Macy's.

Destination Maternity Corporation 

Destination Maternity has revealed third-quarter results that failed to meet company expectations, despite making progress on a number of its initiatives. Adjusted net losses widened to US$1.2m from $0.6m a year earlier. Gross margin was up 240 basis points to 52.9% from 50.5% last year. Net sales, however, dropped to $102.6m compared with $119.5m in 2015, primarily driven by the closure of Sears and Gordmans leased department locations, as well as reductions in Kohl's sales given the planned exit in 2017, and by a decline of 5.2% in comparable sales.

Cherokee Global Brands 

Cherokee moved to a loss in its third-quarter on the back of a fall in sales, largely due to decreases in North America revenues. Net losses amounted to US$873,000 from a profit of $1.5m a year earlier. Net sales dropped to $6.5m from $8.1m in the year ago period. Decreases in the company's domestic market were offset by growth globally, particularly in South America, India, the Middle East, South Africa and Asia. CEO Henry Stupp, said: "We continue to make meaningful progress against our goals, including expanding the reach of the Cherokee brand in the US and have set the stage for a multi-category launch in 2017. We are confident about the future as we expand our global platform and build upon our strong consumer brand awareness."

Sears Holdings

US retail giant Sears Holdings said it remains fully committed to restoring profitability to the company after revealing a widening of its net loss in the quarter to US$748m from $454m a year earlier. Gross margin narrowed to 19.1% from 21.9% as a result of a drop in sales and in its gross margin rate for both the Kmart and Sears domestic segments. Net revenues fell to $5bn from $5.8bn in the prior year quarter. CEO Edward Lampert, noted: "We are taking actions such as reducing unprofitable stores, reducing space in stores we continue to operate, reducing investments in underperforming categories and improving gross margin performance and managing expenses relative to sales in key categories."

Vince Holding Corp

Vince Holding booked a drop in earnings and sales in its third-quarter, reflective of what it says are "continued challenges in the retail industry, in addition to the impact of warm weather". Net income fell to US$3.4m from $5.9m a year earlier as a result of an inventory write-down and net management transition costs. Gross margin narrowed slightly to 50% from 49.5%, due to a $2m benefit from the recovery on inventory write-downs taken in the second quarter of 2015. Net sales fell 6% to $76m.

Tailored Brands Inc.

Tailored Brands, the former Men's Wearhouse, swung to a profit in its third-quarter but booked lower sales as a result of a weak performance from its Men's Wearhouse brand, which saw sales fall 0.8%. Net earnings amounted to US$28.4m from a loss of $27.2m a year earlier. Gross margin widened to 44.5% from 43.1%, while net sales dropped to $846.9m from $865.4m last year.  "Our improved profitability this quarter reflects solid progress on our cost reduction initiatives as we continue to navigate the turnaround of Jos. A. Bank and a choppy retail environment," said CEO Doug Ewert.

Oxford Industries, Inc

Oxford Industries has upped its full-year guidance as it revealed third-quarter sales growth and a narrowing of its net loss to US$1.6m from $2.1m a year earlier. Gross margin was 111 basis points lower as Lanier Apparel's margin was lower and represented a greater proportion of total sales than last year. Net sales were up 12% to $222.3m. CEO Thomas Chubb, said: "We are generally pleased with our third quarter results. We are mindful, however, that industry-wide traffic declines and an ongoing shift in consumer shopping patterns are increasingly evident features of today's retailing environment." For the full year, the company expects net sales in the $1.02bn to $1.03bn range, and GAAP earnings per share of $3.31 to $3.46.

Genesco

Genesco booked declines in both earnings and revenue during the third quarter. Net earnings reached US$25.9m compared to earnings of $32.5m in the year ago period. Net sales dropped 8% to $711m, reflecting the sale of the Lids Team Sports business in the fourth quarter of last year and a decrease of 3% in sales from businesses operated during both periods. Comparable sales, including same store sales and comparable e-commerce and catalogue sales, decreased 3%.

G-III Apparel

G-III Apparel said it sees a multi-billion dollar revenue growth in its future despite posting a 2.97% decline in net sales to US$883m, compared to $910m in the year-ago period. For the quarter ended 31 October, the company saw net income slide 19% to $70.6m from $87.2m last year. As a result, the company lowered its fiscal 2017 full-year outlook to net sales of around $2.43bn, and net income between $67m and $72m. The company added its full-year forecast includes its estimate of net sales of around $25m and operating losses and additional interest expense of around $21m, before taxes, associated with the acquisition of Donna Karan. CEO Morris Goldfarb, said: "While conditions in our industry have been and remain challenging, we have what it takes across the organisation in terms of drive, commitment and talent to carry through on our growth initiatives and deliver excellent value for our shareholders, our customers and our partners."

Express 

Express offered a cautious outlook on a "challenging" holiday season and a highly promotional retail environment as it revealed lower earnings and sales in its third-quarter. Net income dropped to US$11.6m from $26.3m a year earlier. Merchandise margin declined by 340 basis points, driven by increased promotional activity. Net sales fell 7% to $506.1m, while comparable sales (including e-commerce sales) decreased 8%. Despite the declines, CEO David Kornberg, noted: "Our third-quarter performance was highlighted by sales and earnings in line with our guidance and progress made…including refocusing our brand projection and marketing to be more consistent with our core demographic and additional steps taken to drive customer acquisition and retention."

Christopher & Banks

Christopher & Banks Corporation delivered what it said were "pleasing" third-quarter results, exceeding original guidance, as the speciality women's apparel retailer moved to a profit of US$3.5m from a loss of $0.3m last year. Gross margin increased 95 basis points to 36.8%, while net sales were up 2.9% to $106.7m. Comparable sales grew 4.5% on last year. CEO LuAnn Via, noted: "As we look ahead, we expect continued momentum as we further execute across our strategic initiatives in merchandising, marketing and technology to drive long term profitable growth."

PVH Corp

Apparel giant PVH Corp said it was "very pleased" with its "strong" performance in the third quarter, despite seeing a 43% drop in net income to US$126.1m, compared to $221.9m in the year ago period. For the three months ended 30 October, group revenue was up 3.7% to $2.24bn from $2.16bn last year. PVH's Calvin Klein business recorded the highest growth at  9% to $891m, while Tommy Hilfiger sales increased 4% to $927m.  Heritage Brands revenues, however, fell 8% to $426m, primarily due to rationalisation initiatives implemented in 2015 that PVH said continued to impact the business in 2016. Partially offsetting these decreases was a 6% increase in comparable store sales in the Van Heusen business. For the year, PVH is forecasting EPS on a GAAP basis of $6.51 to $6.56, compared to $6.89 in the prior year, and on a non-GAAP basis, a range of $6.70 to $6.75 compared to $7.05 in the prior year. Both projections include a negative impact of around $1.65 per share related to foreign currency exchange rates. 

"Although we are increasing our non-GAAP earnings guidance for the year, we continue to take a prudent approach to planning the holiday season in light of the macroeconomic and geopolitical volatility around the world, as well as the strengthening dollar in the wake of the US Presidential election," said Emanuel Chirico, chairman and CEO. 

Tilly's

Tilly's saw earnings more than double in the third quarter, up 128% to US$6.4m from $2.8m a year ago. Gross margin was flat at 31.5% compared to last year, as a result of a 110 basis point increase on lower buying, distribution and occupancy costs being offset by a 110 basis point decline in product margins from increased markdowns. Total net sales were up 7.3% to $152.1m, while comparable store sales, which include e-commerce sales, increased by 4.4%. CEO Ed Thomas, said: "A promising Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday have us off to a decent start to the fourth quarter, and we believe our merchandise assortment is well positioned for the holiday season. We remain focused on improving profitability for the long term."

New York & Company

New York & Co delivered third-quarter sales slightly below company expectations reflecting a "difficult" mall traffic environment. Revenues dropped to US$213.9m from $219.8m a year earlier, while comparable sales were down 0.7% as an increase in the company's e-commerce business, combined with royalty and related revenue from a new private label credit card agreement, were more than offset by sales declines in store locations. GAAP net losses, meanwhile, narrowed to $2.5m from a GAAP net loss of $5.3m last year. Gross margin improved 90 basis points to 29.9% thanks to benefits from the new private label credit card agreement, product cost reductions and efficiencies from vendor negotiations.

American Eagle Outfitters

American Eagle Outfitters booked record sales and a ninth consecutive quarter of profit improvement. Earnings rose 2.3% to US$75.8m from $74.1m a year earlier, while gross margin improved 20 basis points to 40.2% thanks to improved initial mark-up units. Total revenues edged up 2% to $941m from $919m last year, while consolidated comparable sales also increased 2%. CEO Jay Schottenstein said: "The holiday season is off to a solid start and our brands are well-positioned. We will continue to leverage our leading capabilities to maintain momentum and build on the progress we've made over the past few years."

Shoe Carnival 

Third-quarter results at Shoe Carnival came in below company expectations due to slower sales of seasonal merchandise in the second half of the quarter. Earnings edged up to US$9.7m from $9.4m a year earlier, while gross margin dropped slightly to 29.9% from 30.1% last year. Net sales were up 1.8% to $274.5m, compared to $269.7m in the year ago period, while comparable store sales dropped 0.4%.

DSW

DSW upped its full-year outlook thanks to earnings and sales growth in its third-quarter, reflecting what the company said is "the first step in our return to year over year earnings growth." Net profit was at US$39m from $39.3m a year earlier, but on an adjusted basis grew 16% to $41.7m, higher than consensus forecasts. Gross profit improved 50 basis points to 30.4%, while total sales were up 4.7% to $697m. Comparable sales, however, dropped 2%. For the full year, DSW forecast earnings in the range of $1.35 to $1.45 per share. CEO Roger Rawlins, said: "Looking ahead, we remain steadfast in delivering consistent execution as we drive shareholder returns and capture market share in the long term."

J Crew

US fashion retailer J Crew said its third-quarter results reflect "ongoing traffic challenges and a highly promotional retail environment." Net losses narrowed to US$7.9m from $759.7m a year earlier, but gross margin declined slightly to 38.1% compared to 38.6%. Net sales at J Crew were down 7.4% to $488.0m from $527m last year, while those at Madewell rose 11.8% to $88m from $78.7m in the year ago period. Meanwhile, total revenues fell 4% to $593.2m, while comparable company sales decreased 8% following a decrease of 11% in the third quarter last year. Millard Drexler, CEO, said the company has "several key operational initiatives" underway to position it to regain momentum and deliver long term growth.

Caleres

Footwear retailer Caleres booked improvements in sales, margins and earnings in its third-quarter, with revenue boosted by a solid back-to-school season at the group's Famous footwear portfolio. Net sales were up 0.5% to US$732.2m, compared to $728.6m a year earlier. Net income edged up to $34.7m from $34m. Gross margin improved 53 basis points to 40.1%, driven by the group's brand portfolio. "Despite a somewhat choppy environment, our third quarter performance further confirms our portfolio strategy is working as intended," said Diane Sullivan, CEO, president and chairman.

Burlington Stores

Burlington Stores exceeded its sales and earnings guidance in the third quarter, with net income soaring 114.4% to US$32.4m. Gross margin expanded 140 basis points to 41.2%, driven by strong merchandise margins. Net sales were up 9.1% to $1.34bn thanks to a 3.7% increase in comparable store sales and $69.8m in sales from new and non-comparable stores. For the full year, the company expects sales to increase in the range of 8.4% to 8.7%, and comparable sales to be up 3.9% to 4.2%.

Urban Outfitters

Teen retailer Urban Outfitters has delivered "record" third-quarter sales, growing 5% to US$862m. Comparable sales were up 1%. Comparable sales grew 5.2% at the Urban Outfitters brand, fell 1.5% at Free People, and dropped 2.7% at Athropologie. Net earnings, meanwhile, fell to $47.3m from $52m a year earlier. Gross margin narrowed slightly to 34.8% from 34.9%, as increased penetration of the direct-to-consumer channel resulted in higher customer delivery and overall logistics costs. 

Chico's FAS 

Third-quarter earnings at US women's wear retailer Chico's FAS beat expectations thanks to cost reduction and operating efficiency initiatives to turn the business around. The company moved to a profit of US$23.6m from a net loss of $11.6m, while gross margin remained flat at 38.6%. Net sales, meanwhile, dropped to $596.9m from $645.4m a year earlier, with $18.7m related to the sale of the firm's Boston Proper direct-to-consumer business. This resulted in a decline in comparable sales of 4.9%. "We are fully engaged in the implementation of our cost reduction and operating efficiency initiatives, and our continued progress reinforces our confidence in the company's strategic plan," said CEO Shelley Broader.

Abercrombie & Fitch

Teen apparel retailer Abercrombie and Fitch revealed what analysts  described as a "disastrous" quarter, with total sales sequentially worse than last quarter and earnings down by over 80% to US$7.9m. Gross margin improved 60 basis points to 62.2%, but total sales dropped 6% to $821.7m. Comparable sales also fell 6%. The declines, analysts believe, are down to some negative results from flagship stores in tourist locations, weaker traffic across malls, warmer weather, and a lack of traction with the brands. Chairman Arthur Martinez, said: "As expected, our third-quarter was challenging. While Hollister improved sequentially, it was more than offset by disappointing performance in A&F."

Foot Locker

US footwear retailer Foot Locker achieved both sales and earnings growth in its third-quarter thanks to the execution of strategic initiatives and improvement in gross margin. Earnings almost doubled to US$157m from $80m last year, while net sales were up 5.1% to $1.89bn. Comparable sales rose 4.7%, and gross margin improved to 33.9% from 33.8% a year earlier. "The company continued to execute its strategic initiatives and produce excellent financial results in the quarter, with solid, consistent top-line growth, as well as incremental improvements in both gross margin and SG&A rates," CEO Lauren Peters said.

The Buckle 

The Buckle booked a drop in both earnings and sales in the third quarter, with the former dropping to US$23.4m from $35.9m a year earlier. Revenues were down 14.6% to $239.2m from $280.2m last year, while comparable sales fell 15.3%. Online sales were down 8.5% to $23.7m for the 13-week period ended 29 October.

Destination XL Group

Speciality big and tall men's apparel retailer Destination XL Group narrowed its net losses in the third quarter to US$4.5m from $5.5m in the prior-year. Gross margin dropped to 44.4% from 45% as a result of a 30-basis-point decrease in merchandise margin and a 30-basis-point increase in occupancy costs. Net sales, however, were up 2.3% to $101.9m from $99.6m a year earlier, primarily driven by a comparable sales increase of 2.3% from the company's DXL stores. CEO David Levin, said: "Despite a very difficult retail environment, our DXL stores continue to perform, driven by increases in both transactions and average spend per guest. Heading into the fourth quarter, our inventories are in excellent shape, and we are well positioned to capitalise on the coming holiday shopping season."

Stage Stores 

Stage Stores lowered its full-year outlook as the apparel retailer revealed a drop in sales and wider net loss in its third-quarter. Losses grew to US$15.6m from $10.2m a year earlier. Net sales fell 9.8% to $317.1m compared to $351.6m last year. Comparable sales were down 8.2%. CEO Michael Glazer, noted: "Our third-quarter results remained challenged by a difficult retail environment, unseasonably warm weather, the weak peso, and ongoing pressure in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico from depressed oil prices." For the full year, the company expects comparable sales to fall by 7% to 8%, and adjusted loss per share  of between $0.15 and $0.40.

Ross Stores

Ross Stores  booked third-quarter earnings and sales that beat company expectations. Net profit grew to US$245m, up from $216m last year, while total sales rose 11% to $3.1bn. Comparable store sales were up 7% versus a 3% gain in the prior year. CEO Barbara Rentler noted: "We are very pleased with our better-than-expected sales and earnings growth in the third quarter as customers responded favourably to the compelling values we offered throughout our stores. Operating margin of 12.6% was ahead of plan, increasing 55 basis points mainly from higher merchandise margin." For the full year, the company has forecast EPS in the range of $2.78 to $2.81, up 11% to 12% on top of a 14% gain last year.

Walmart Stores

US retail giant Wal-Mart Stores had a "solid" third-quarter that saw e-commerce growth accelerate, US operations strengthen, and a "solid" international performance – but booked a 2.3% fall in net income to $3.0bn, from $3.3bn a year ago. Total revenue rose 0.7% to $118.2bn. On a constant currency basis, total revenue was $120.3bn, an increase of 2.5%. US comparable store sales were up 1.2%, marking the ninth straight quarterly gain. "We will continue to change and pick up speed to reach our longer term aspirations," said Doug McMillon, president and CEO.

Cato Corp

Cato Corp lowered its full-year guidance on the back of flat earnings for its third-quarter. For the three months to 29 October, net income was US$8.3m, while gross margin narrowed to 35.5% from 37.2% in the year ago period. Net sales were $207m, a 7% drop on last year's $223.3m. Same-store sales were down 8%. The company's  earnings per share estimate for the full year is now in a range of $2.08 to $2.12  versus $2.39 last year.

The Bon-Ton Stores

US department store retailer The Bon-Ton Stores narrowed its losses in the third quarter to US$31.6m, compared with $34.2m in the year ago period. For the three months ended 29 October, sales dropped 5.4% to $589.9m from $623.4m last year, mainly due to the impact of unseasonably warm weather on sales of cold weather clothing. Sales increases were seen in furniture, dresses, denim, active sportswear, contemporary plus, men's big and tall, and men's sportswear. Comparable store sales fell 4.9% while gross margin increased by 170 basis points to 35.1% compared to 33.4% in the same quarter last year. The company revised its guidance for the year, forecasting a loss per diluted share in the range of $2.04 to $2.54 and adjusted EBITDA of $114m to $124m.

Perry Ellis International

Perry Ellis said it was pleased with its results in the third quarter, despite moving to a loss. The company added results were ahead of expectations and maintained its full-year outlook of adjusted EPS in a range of $1.95 to $2. For the three month period, GAAP losses amounted to US$5.2m from earnings of $2.3m a year earlier. Gross margin expanded 100 basis points to 36.7% from 35.7%, while total sales dropped to $194m from $205.4m in the year ago period. The company realised a 3.5% revenue increase in its core global brands which were offset by the balance of the exit of non-core brands and the negative impact of currency exchange rates. 

Stein Mart

Off-price fashion retailer Stein Mart said new marketing and promotional changes introduced during the year, as well as new merchandising strategies, were not embraced by its customers, resulting in a widening of net losses to US$11m from $0.2m a year earlier. Sales also declined 0.4% to $299.5m. Comparable store sales were down 4.6%. Gross margins narrowed to 24.3% from 27.3% in the year ago period, reflecting higher occupancy costs, mostly from new stores.

The Children's Place

The Children's Place has delivered what it said was an "outstanding" quarter thanks to higher earnings and sales, and upped its outlook for the full year. Earnings reached US$44.2m in the three month period from $38.5m a year earlier. Gross margin improved 140 basis points to reach 41% thanks to merchandise margin leverage and a higher average unit retail (AUR). Net sales were up 3.9% to $437.8m, while comparable sales grew 4.6%. For the full year, the company is forecasting adjusted net income per share to be in the range of $5 to $5.05, from previous guidance of $4.60 to $4.70. This guidance assumes a positive low single digit increase in comparable retail sales for the year.

L Brands

L Brands booked a mixed third-quarter as earnings fell but sales climbed. For the three months ended 29 October, the owner of Victoria's Secret said net income fell 25.8% to US$121.6m from $164.0m a year earlier. Meanwhile, the company reported net sales of $2.58bn, an increase of 4% compared to sales of $2.48bn for the year ago period. Comparable sales were up 2%. Looking ahead, L Brands said it expects fourth-quarter earnings per share to be $1.85 to $2.00 compared to $2.15 last year. 

Target Corp

US retail group Target booked "stronger-than-expected" profitability in its third-quarter thanks to improvements in traffic and sales trends. Net earnings rose almost 11% to US$608m, up from $549m in the prior year period. Sales edged down 6.7% to $16.4bn from $17.6bn, reflecting a 0.2% decline in comparable sales combined with the removal of pharmacy and clinic sales from this year's results. Digital channel sales increased 26%, contributing 0.7 percentage points to comparable sales growth.

Dick's Sporting Goods 

Omni-channel sporting goods retailer Dick's Sporting Goods has booked what it said was a pleasing third-quarter thanks to higher earnings and revenues, driven by gross margin expansion and a 5.2% comparable sales increase. Consolidated net income reached US$48.9m from $47.2m a year earlier. Net sales were up 10.2% to $1.8bn, while same-store sales for Dick's Sporting Goods increased 5.5%. For the full year, the company is forecasting earnings per diluted share in the range of $2.91 to $3.03, and consolidated same store sales to increase 3-4%, compared to a 0.2% decrease in fiscal 2015. 

TJX Companies

TJX Companies revealed third-quarter earnings and sales that significantly exceeded company expectations thanks to strong customer traffic and comps. Net income fell 6.4% to US$549.8m, down from $587.3m in the prior year. Gross margin was up 0.5 percentage points to 29.5%, thanks to a strong increase in merchandise margins and gains related to the company's inventory hedges. Net sales were up 7% to $8.3bn, while comparable sales increased 5%. CEO Ernie Herrman said: "We are extremely pleased that our strong momentum in customer traffic and sales continued in the third quarter. We remain laser focused on achieving our goals for 2016 and are passionate about surpassing them. We are on our way to becoming a $40bn-plus company."

Differential Brands

Differential Brands Group, which owns Robert Graham and Hudson Clothing, moved to a loss in its third-quarter, with earnings hampered by expenses related to the Robert Graham merger and the acquisition of Swims. For the period ended 30 September, net losses were US$2.8m, compared to a net income of $36,000 last year. Net sales, meanwhile, were up to $41.2m from $17.6m in the prior year period, primarily driven by the inclusion of $19.5m from the addition of sales from Hudson and $3.5m from the addition of sales from Swims. Gross margin fell to 49.4% compared to 62.3% last year, with the addition of the Hudson and Swims wholesale generating lower gross margins than Robert Graham.

Phoenix Footwear Group

Phoenix Footwear Group broke even in its third-quarter as it moved from a loss of US$45,000 in the year ago quarter. Gross margin improved 540 basis points to 38.6% from 33.2% in the prior year, thanks to a reduction in air freight and other negative purchase price variances when compared to last year's quarter. Net sales, however, dropped 1% to $5.8m compared to $5.82m for the third quarter of fiscal 2015. This was primarily driven by lower sales in the catalogue, online and national retail channels that were partly offset by increases in the company's e-commerce and other internet-based accounts.

JC Penney Company

Retail giant JC Penney said it experienced a softness in apparel sales in its third-quarter but reported an improvement in net losses, which amounted to US$67m from a loss of $115m in the year ago quarter. In August, the company unveiled a three-year turnaround plan for accelerated growth that focuses on advancing its omni-channel execution and driving private and exclusive brand penetration. Total sales were down 1.4% to $2.86bn, while comparable sales were down 0.8% for the period. Gross margin declined 10 basis points to 37.2% of sales. For the full year, the company is forecasting comparable sales growth of 1-2%, and gross margin to be flat.

Dillard's

Dillard's saw both earnings and sales tumble in its third quarter, with sales pressuring gross margin and net income performance. Earnings dropped 50% to US$22.8m, compared to $45.7m last year, which included a net after-tax credit of $6m related to the sale of three store locations. Gross margin, meanwhile, narrowed to 35.6% from 36.4%. Net sales fell to $1.37bn from $1.44bn. Although all categories declined, sales trends were strongest in juniors' and children's apparel, ladies' apparel and men's clothing and accessories, with weaker performances from ladies' accessories and lingerie, cosmetics and shoes.  In terms of geography, sales were strongest in the western region, followed by the central and eastern regions, respectively.

Nordstrom

Upscale US fashion retailer Nordstrom  booked mixed results in its third-quarter as it moved back into positive sales territory following declines earlier this year, but swung to a net loss on a $197m goodwill impairment. Net sales were up 7.2% to $3.5bn from $3.2bn a year earlier, while comparable sales climbed 2.4%. Net losses amounted to $10m compared with earnings of $81m in the year ago period. Gross margin, meanwhile, improved 93 basis points to 34.8%, reflecting strong inventory execution, which resulted in net sales growth outpacing inventory growth, in addition to leverage of buying and occupancy costs.

Macy's

Department store retailer Macy's saw both earnings and sales fall in its third-quarter but reaffirmed its guidance for the full year. Earnings fell 87% to $17m from $118m a year earlier. Gross margin remained flat at 39.8%, while net sales totalled $5.63bn, drop of 4.2% on the prior year period. Comparable sales on an owned plus licensed basis were down by 2.7% in the quarter. Despite this, the company said it remains confident in its previously provided full-year earnings per share guidance and expects full-year sales to be better than its prior guidance.

Kohl's

Department store retailer Kohl's has booked a mixed third-quarter as earnings climbed but sales fell, despite a strong back-to-school season. Net profit amounted to US$146m, a 21.6% increase on earnings of $120m in the prior year. Gross margin was flat at 37.1%. Net sales, however, dropped 2.3% to $4.33bn. CEO Kevin Mansell, said: "We are pleased to see continued improvement in our sales trends. Our back-to-school season was strong, followed by a soft September, and progressive improvement throughout October. We are encouraged by these trends as we enter the Holiday season." The company reaffirmed its fiscal 2016 diluted earnings per share guidance of $3.12 to $3.32 per diluted share. 

Crocs 

US footwear firm Crocs  booked revenue in-line with guidance at US$245.9m from $274.1m a year earlier. On a constant-currency basis, revenues fell 11.6%. GAAP net losses narrowed to $5.4m from $27.8m in the prior year. CEO Gregg Ribatt said: "We continue to manage our business tightly in what remains a challenging consumer environment. Looking ahead, we continue to plan conservatively given the current top-line headwinds. We are working hard to drive quality growth through our product, marketing, and distribution strategies and we remain confident that the steps we've taken to build a better business model will result in increased profitability and greater shareholder value."

Iconix Brand Group 

Brand management company Iconix Brand Group booked what it said was another "solid" quarter. Performance across the company's brands was mixed, with GAAP net income reaching US$15.2m from a loss of $5.4m a year earlier, while licensing sales remained flat at around $90.9m. Operating income jumped 46% to $40.7m thanks to the men's segment, which had fewer charges and a large write-off of bad debt the prior year. CEO John Haugh noted: "Performance across the brands was mixed, but with our balanced portfolio of brands and the company's attractive margins, we were able to achieve stable revenue, increased profits and healthy free cash flow."

Weyco Group 

Footwear business Weyco saw a drop in both earnings and sales in its third-quarter, with a particularly poor performance in the group's North American wholesale division. Net earnings dropped to US$4.6m from $5.5m a year earlier, while sales fell 13% to $79.1m. Sales in the North America retail segment, including the company's Florsheim stores and its internet business in the US, were down 1% to $4.7m. Same store sales were up 2%, but wholesale sales dropped 17% to $62.2m as a result of lower sales of the Stacy Adams, Nunn Bush and BOGS brands.

Sequential Brands

Brand management company Sequential Brands reiterated its revenue guidance for the full year after posting an 83% hike in third-quarter sales. Revenue for the three months to 30 September increased to US$42m, compared to $23m in the same period last year. Net income reached $7.5m, compared to $5m on a non-GAAP basis. Sequential Brands continues to expect US$155m to $160m in revenue, but is now expecting GAAP net income of $7.7m to $11m, compared to previous forecasts of $12.7m to $14.6m. Meanwhile, adjusted EBITDA is now expected at $83m to $88m, compared to $88.0m to $91.0m, primarily due to costs associated with its headquarter lease, which were expected to be partially offset, and augmented investment in operating resources in targeted areas of the company. 

Black Diamond 

Outdoor equipment and apparel business Black Diamond reaffirmed its full-year outlook after trimming its third-quarter loss thanks to reduced expenses. Net losses improved to $0.4m from $50.8m a year earlier, while gross margin narrowed to 31.3% from 36%. Foreign currency headwinds accounted for 190 basis points of the decline. Sales edged up to $39.4m versus $39.3m a year ago. For the full year the company expects sales in the region of $145-$150m. As a result of the higher costs due to the repatriation of the company's Chinese manufacturing assets and improvements to its manufacturing facilities in Salt Lake City, gross margin is expected to be around 30% compared to 34.9% in 2015.

Amazon

Online retail giant Amazon delivered strong growth in the third-quarter, with a 29% rise in sales to US$32.7bn, compared to $25.4bn in the same period last year. For the three months ended 30 September, the company recorded a profit of $252m, up 219% from $79m last year. The company expects fourth-quarter sales growth of between 17% and 27%, or between $42bn and $45.5bn.

"Amazon remains an impressive player and a threat to many other retailers," said Neil Saunders, CEO of Conlumino. "It is still growing its market share, especially in more embryonic categories like fashion. Looking ahead we see no reason for the dominance of Amazon to diminish."

Columbia Sportswear

Columbia Sportswear said the combined effects of a shift in the timing of shipments of US wholesale advance orders, coupled with bankruptcies of some US wholesale customers during 2016, hit its third-quarter results. For the period to 30 September, the company booked sales of US$745.7m, a 3% decline compared to $767.6m last year. Meanwhile, third-quarter income totalled $83.6m, an 8% decline compared to $91.1m last year. The company expects full year 2016 net sales growth of approximately 4%, and expects net income after non-controlling interest to increase up to 8% to between $180m and $187.5m.

Hanesbrands

Underwear and activewear maker Hanesbrands delivered strong growth in the third-quarter, with an 11% rise in sales to US$1.76bn, compared to $1.59bn in the same period last year. Hanes said the increase was driven by core organic Innerwear growth and strong acquisition-related international growth. Meanwhile, the company recorded a profit of $173.9m, up 7.2% from $162.2m last year. The company has narrowed its 2016 full-year guidance, and now expects net sales growth of $6.15bn to $6.18bn, and adjusted EPS of $1.89 to $1.92.

"Our business is unfolding as expected this year, and we remain confident in our ability to deliver on our full-year guidance," says Hanes CEO, Gerald Evans Jr.

Rocky Brands 

US apparel and footwear company Rocky Brands said it is disappointed in its results for the three months to 30 September, which saw earnings drop to US$0.4m from $1.8m last year. Sales meanwhile increased 4.6% to $732m from $70m. Wholesale sales declined 3.2% to $52.9m from $54.7m, while retail sales were flat at $10.3m. Military segment sales almost doubled to $10.1m compared to $5.1m. Gross margin dropped 460 basis points to 27% from 31.6% as military segment sales carry lower gross margins than the company's wholesale and retail segment.

Gymboree

Children's apparel retailer Gymboree Corp said the three months ended 30 July proved to be difficult, despite moving to a profit of $40.8m from a loss of $25.4m in the year ago period. Sales fell 4% to US$250.3m from $261.8m the year before, and comparable sales fell 2%. The company has lowered its full-year guidance, forecasting adjusted EBITDA of $85m to $105m compared to previous expectations of $120m to $135m. 

Under Armour

Under Armour delivered its 26th consecutive quarter of 20%-plus revenue growth, with sales increases in all of its divisions. Net sales were up 22% in the third quarter to $1.47bn, with footwear recording the largest growth, at 42% to $279m. Apparel sales were up 18% to $1.02bn, while accessory sales grew 18% to $122m. Earnings in the period increased 28% to $128m. Gross margin, meanwhile, narrowed slightly, to 47.5% from 48.8% a year ago, primarily reflecting negative impacts from the liquidation of Sports Authority, increased promotions and foreign exchange rates, partially offset by continued product cost margin improvements. For the full year, the company is forecasting total sales of around $4.92bn, representing growth of 24% over 2015.

Skechers USA

Footwear maker Skechers achieved a new third-quarter sales record, and the second highest sales quarter in its 24-year history. Revenues of $942.4m were up 10.1% on last year, although the company reported an earnings decline of 2.2% to US$65.1m, hurt by foreign currency translation and exchange losses of around $8.1m. Gross margin widened to 45.6% from 45.2%, primarily due to slightly higher domestic wholesale margins offset by slightly lower global retail margins. For the fourth quarter of 2016, the company expects net sales in the range of $710m to $735m.

VF Corp

VF Corp said it is not satisfied with its third-quarter results, as it revealed higher earnings but lower sales as a result of "especially sluggish retail conditions" in the Americas, its largest market. As a result, the company slashed its full-year outlook. It now expects 2016 revenue to increase 2% to around $12.2bn compared with the previous estimate of 3% to 4% growth. Earnings per share are expected to rise 3% to $3.13 compared with previous guidance of a 5% rise to $3.20. For the quarter, earnings amounted to US$498.5m from $459.9m a year earlier. Gross margin was up 70 basis points to 48.4%, but total sales were down 1% to $3.5bn. 

"We remain sharply focused on operational improvements and taking advantage of this environment to accelerate strategies to create sustainable, long-term growth opportunities for our brands," said CEO Eric Wiseman.