just-styles round-up of Q4 apparel and footwear industry results

just-style's round-up of Q4 apparel and footwear industry results

In the latest fourth-quarter filings from US apparel and footwear brands and retailers, Iconix Brand Group reported a GAAP net loss, CEO of PHV Corp, Emanuel Chirico, said the company is "very pleased" with its fourth-quarter and full year 2018 results, and Guess Inc released its first results under new CEO Carlos Alberini.

VF Corp

Apparel giant VF Corp has booked a 49% drop in fourth-quarter profit as net income in the three months to the end of March fell to US$128.8m from $252.8m in the prior year period. The company incurred a net expense of approximately $14m in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ("Tax Act"). Gross margin declined 20 basis points in the period to 50.3% on a reported basis. On an adjusted basis, gross margin increased 30 basis points, including a 70 basis point negative impact from Kontoor Brands, to 51.1%. Revenue, meanwhile, increased 6% (up 9% in constant dollars) to $3.2bn, driven by VF's largest brands, international and direct-to-consumer businesses, as well as strength from the active, outdoor and work segments. Excluding Kontoor Brands, revenue increased 8% (up 12% constant dollars).

CEO Steve Rendle said fiscal 2019 marked "one of the most significant periods of transformation in VF's 120-year history", highlighted by its announcement to spin off its Jeans business as an independent, publicly traded company - Kontoor Brands. 

Boot Barn Holdings

Boot Barn Holdings CEO Jim Conroy said the company continued to experience strength across the business in the fourth quarter, highlighted by its eighth consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales growth in its retail stores and further improvements in e-commerce profitability. For the period ended 30 March, net income totalled US$8.7m, compared to $6.9m in the prior-year period, while net sales increased 12.9% to $192.8m. The increase in net sales was driven by an 8.7% rise in same-store sales, the sales contribution from acquired stores, and sales from new stores added over the past twelve months. Gross profit was $63.4m, or 32.9% of net sales, compared to $52.9m, or 31% of net sales, in the prior-year period. Gross profit increased primarily due to increased sales and an increase in merchandise margin rate. Gross profit rate increased due to a 150 basis point increase in merchandise margin rate and 40 basis points of leverage in buying and occupancy costs.

Destination Maternity

Marla Ryan, CEO of maternity apparel retailer Destination Maternity said several factors represented "significant headwinds" for the business in the fourth quarter. "Challenging conversion results on our e-commerce sites and in-store drove a 5.8% comparable sales decline and our promotional cadence and more aggressive approach to rightsizing inventory negatively impacted margins. We were diligent in tightly managing our expenses, which mostly offset the impact on profitability, but know that we need to do better," she said.

Net loss narrowed in the period to US$6.4m from $10.2m in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. Net sales, meanwhile, decreased 13.1% to $91.3m from $105.1m last year. The retailer said sales were negatively impacted by the net closure of 29 owned locations and 83 leased lease locations, a decrease in comparable sales, and the 53rd week in fiscal 2017. Comparable sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 decreased 5.8% from last year. Gross margin rate for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 was 48.4%, a decrease of 200 basis points from the comparable prior year gross margin.

Vince Holding Corp

Upmarket apparel and accessories company Vince Holding Corp reported a mixed fourth-quarter as revenue increased but profit tumbled. For the period ended 2 February, net sales climbed 4.2% to US$77.8m from $74.6m in the year-ago quarter. Comparable sales increased 3.1% on a 13-week basis, including e-commerce sales, due primarily to an increase in transactions partially offset by a lower average unit retail related to product mix. Net income, meanwhile, tumbled to $0.7m from $74.5m last year. The company said net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017  included a Tax Receivable Agreement (TRA) adjustment of $82m and a non-cash asset impairment charge related to property and equipment of certain retail stores of $5.1m. Adjusted net income, excluding the aforementioned charges, was $2.4m, as compared to adjusted net loss of $2.4m in the same period last year. Gross margin rate increased 160 basis points to 47.1%, driven by a favourable impact from year-over-year adjustments to inventory reserves partially offset by higher upfront discounts in the off-price wholesale channel.

Iconix Brand Group

Bob Galvin, CEO Iconix, said the firm's results for the quarter were negatively impacted by the Sears bankruptcy, while its international business continued to demonstrate "strong growth". For the period ended 31 December, the company reported a GAAP net loss from continuing operations of US$69.1m, as compared to income of $24.7m for the fourth quarter of 2017. Iconix recorded a non-cash trademark impairment charge of $58.7m in the fourth quarter of 2018, primarily in the women's segment related to the write-down in the Mossimo, Joe Boxer and Mudd trademarks, to reduce various trademarks in those segments to fair value. In addition, it also recorded a non-cash investment impairment charge of $2.5m in the period due to impairment of the company's investment in iBrands. Total revenue, meanwhile, was $42.7m, an 18% decline as compared to $52.3m in the prior year quarter. Sales were impacted by the effect of the Sears bankruptcy on Iconix's Joe Boxer & Bongo brands in women's and the Cannon brand in home. Its men's segment revenue, however, increased 38% in the fourth quarter of 2018 as compared to the prior year quarter primarily from the Umbro, Ecko and Buffalo brands.  Meanwhile, its international segment grew for both the quarter and the year primarily based on the performance of its brands in China, Europe and India.

Oxford Industries

Thomas Chubb III, CEO of Oxford Industries, said he is "extremely pleased" with how well each of the group's brands continues to navigate the challenges of the rapidly changing marketplace. For the fourth quarter ended 2 February, the company reported an increase in net sales to US$298.5m from  $293.2m  in the prior year period, including a 2% comparable store sales rise. Net earnings in the period, however, slipped to $16.68m from $24.13m last year. Gross margin was 55.1% compared to 55.3% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017.

PVH Corp

CEO of PHV Corp, Emanuel Chirico, said the company is "very pleased" with its fourth-quarter and full year 2018 results, which demonstrated the power of its "diversified business model". He added Tommy Hilfiger had an outstanding quarter, with strong growth across all product categories and regions, while Calvin Klein delivered a healthy quarter, with particular strength in Europe. For the period ended 3 February, net income totalled US$158.7m, compared to $108.5m last year, while net sales slipped to $2.36bn from $2.38bn. Total revenue in the quarter decreased 1% (increased 2% on a constant currency basis) to $2.48bn, compared to the prior year period, including a $125m negative impact as a result of 2017 including an additional (53rd) week. Revenue in the Tommy Hilfiger business for the quarter increased 2% to $1.2bn, while at Calvin Klein, revenue decreased 2% to $953m. Revenue in the Heritage Brands business for the quarter, meanwhile, decreased 5% to $363m compared to the prior year period.

Shoe Carnival

Shoe Carnival CEO, Cliff Sifford, has hailed record net sales and earnings results above the company's expectations for the fiscal year, with net sales in the fourth quarter totalling US$234.7m, up from $243.2m in the prior year period. Comparable store sales for the 13-week period ended 2 February increased 4.7% compared to the 13-week period last year. Net income, meanwhile, was $1.4m, compared to a net loss of $3.9m in the  fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. Gross profit margin decreased to 28.4% compared to 28.9% last year.

G-III Apparel Group

Fourth quarter results at G-III Apparel Group "capped off a record year for G-III in which we surpassed $3.0bn in annual net sales and achieved record profits fueled by our five global power brands – DKNY, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Karl Lagerfeld," according to chairman and CEO Morris Goldfarb. He added: "This was also a transformative year for our company as it was the first full year in which products for DKNY and Donna Karan were created and developed by us.

During the three months to 31 January, net sales increased 7.3% to $766.8m from $714.9m a year earlier. The Company swung to a GAAP net income of $24.1m, compared to a net loss of $0.5m last year.

"With the current power brands we have today, we believe we can continue to achieve significant organic growth opportunities over the next several years. In addition, the strength of our balance sheet allows us to capitalise on the right acquisition opportunity."

Guess Inc

Guess Inc has released its first results under new CEO Carlos Alberini, which saw GAAP net earnings surge to US$23.23 from $1.04m last year. Total net revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 increased 5.7% to $837.1m, compared to $792.2m in the prior-year quarter. In constant currency, net revenue increased by 9.5%. The company's fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 results included 13 weeks, while the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 results included 14 weeks. Sales in the Americas decreased 0.7% in US dollars and increased 0.4% in constant currency, while sales in Asia increased 21.7% in US dollars and 25.8% in constant currency. Meanwhile, in Europe,  revenues increased 4.1% in US dollars and 10% in constant currency.

J Crew

J Crew says it has taken "immediate and decisive action" to refocus its strategy and improve performance in 2019, with the goal of returning J Crew to profitability and sustaining momentum at Madewell. President and COO Michael Nicholson said the J Crew brand delivered "disappointing" results in 2018 as many new strategies the company deployed were "ultimately not successful" and negatively impacted financial performance.

For the three months ended 2 February, the company reported a net loss of US$74.4m, compared with net income of $34.7m in the fourth quarter last year. J Crew said the fourth quarter this year reflects the impact of excess inventory write-downs, while the fourth quarter last year reflects the impact of transformation costs. Total revenues, meanwhile, increased 3% to $733.8m, while comparable company sales were up 9% following a decrease of 3% in the fourth quarter last year. J Crew sales slipped 4% to $527.9m, while Madewell sales surged 16% to $157.9m. Gross margin in the period decreased to 22.4% from 36.7% in the fourth quarter last year. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, the company recorded a charge of $39.3m for expected losses on the disposition of excess merchandise inventories.

DSW

DSW CEO Roger Rawlins has hailed fiscal 2018 as one of the best years in the company's history from a comparable sales and earnings growth standpoint. In the final quarter, for the three months ended 2 February, DSW reported a net loss of US$45.73m, compared to net income of $11.95m in the prior year period. Net sales, meanwhile, rose to $838.58m from $723.36m last year, while comparable sales were up 5.4%. Reported gross profit, as a percentage of sales, narrowed to 24.4% from 26.8%.

The footwear and accessories retailer has also outlined its three-year strategic priorities and financial goals and unveiled a new corporate name – Designer Brands Inc.

Zumiez

Zumiez booked a mixed fourth-quarter as profit increased but revenue dipped. Net income in the period increased 48.5% to US$29.6m, compared to $19.9m in the fourth quarter of the prior fiscal year. Total net sales, meanwhile, decreased 1.2% to $304.6m from $308.2m in the quarter ended 3 February 2018. Comparable sales for the 13-week period were up 3.9% compared to the same thirteen-week period last year.

"For the third consecutive year we delivered strong comparable sales and operating income growth in the key holiday quarter," said CEO Rick Brooks.

Tilly's

"Tilly's finished fiscal 2018 with its strongest single-quarter comp sales result since the third quarter of fiscal 2011, and its best consecutive three-quarter run of comp sales results since becoming a public company in 2012," said CEO Ed Thomas. For the fourth quarter ended 2 February, total net sales were up 3.8% to US$170.6m from $164.3m last year. Comparable store net sales, which includes e-commerce net sales, increased 6.4% compared to flat comparable store net sales during last year's fourth quarter. E-commerce net sales increased by 49.6% and represented about 20% of total net sales. Net income, meanwhile, was $8.7m, compared to $6.7m last year, while gross margin decreased to 30.6% from 31.3% last year. This 70 basis point decrease in gross margin was due to a 120 basis point increase in distribution costs primarily as a result of higher e-commerce shipping costs associated with strong e-commerce net sales growth. 

Dollar General

Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos has hailed 2018 as a "great year" for Dollar General, with the company delivering strong same-store sales growth in the fourth quarter, driven by performance in both consumable and non-consumable product sales. For the 13 weeks ended 1 February, net sales increased 8.5% to US$6.6bn in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to $6.1bn in the fourth quarter of 2017. Same-store sales increased 4%, driven by increases in average transaction amount and customer traffic, both of which are believed to have benefited from the early release of government SNAP assistance. Net income, however, slipped to  $4m from $712m last year. Gross profit as a percentage of net sales narrowed to 31.2% from 32.1%.

Tailored Brands

North America-based men's tailored clothing and formalwear provider Tailored Brands has seen losses widen in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. Adjusted to exclude the impact of changes to its loyalty programme in the quarter, a goodwill impairment charge related to its corporate apparel business, and costs related to the closure of a rental product distribution centre and other divestments, net losses grew to $14.2m compared with a loss of $0.1m a year earlier. On a GAAP basis, net earnings were $6.2m compared to a net loss of $0.5m last year.  Total adjusted net sales were $768.4m, a 10.7% fall year-on-year, partly due to the loss of an extra trading week compared to last year. On a GAAP basis, retail net sales decreased 7.3% to $730m. Meanwhile, consolidated gross margin, n an adjusted basis, decreased 50 basis points to 36.8% primarily due to deleveraging of occupancy costs driven by the impact of the 53rd week partially offset by higher corporate apparel gross margins due to customer mix and the impact of renegotiated pricing arrangements with UK customers.

Express

Matthew Moellering, interim CEO of speciality retail apparel company Express, said that despite the firm's fourth-quarter results being in line with its guidance, the company's overall performance in the period was "disappointing". Net loss in the period totalled US$1.1m, compared to net income of $27.4m in last year's fourth quarter. Excluding costs related to the CEO departure and impairment of the company's Homage investment, adjusted net income was $12.8m in the period, compared to adjusted net income of $25.8m in the fourth quarter of 2017. Gross margin in the period declined 250 basis points to 27.6% from 30.1% last year. Net sales, meanwhile, increased 2% to $515.0m from $503.4m a year ago, while comparable sales (including e-commerce sales) were 0%, compared to a 1% decrease in the third quarter of 2017. E-commerce sales increased 26% year over year to $149.1m. On a comparable sales basis, e-commerce sales increased by 23%. Net sales, meanwhile, decreased by 10% to $628.4m from $699.7m in the fourth quarter of 2017. The company said fourth-quarter 2017 net sales benefited from an extra week, which was worth $26m. Comparable sales (including e-commerce sales) decreased 6%, compared to a 1% decrease in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Dick's Sporting Goods

Dick's Sporting Goods CEO, Edward Stack, said the company is pleased with its fourth quarter results, despite a drop in both earnings and revenue. The company reported consolidated net income for the fourth quarter ended 2 February 2019 of US$102.6m, compared to $116m last year. Net sales, meanwhile, decreased 6.5% from $2.66bn to $2.49bn. Adjusted for the calendar shift due to the 53rd week in fiscal 2017, consolidated same store sales decreased 2.2% on a 13-week to 13-week comparable basis. Based on an unshifted calendar, consolidated same store sales for the fourth quarter decreased 3.7%.  Fourth quarter 2017 consolidated same store sales decreased 2%

Stage Stores

Stage Stores reported a net loss of US$7.8m in the fourth quarter, compared to net income of $5.6m in the year ago period. The company said its fourth quarter 2018 results included $14.9m of non-cash impairments related to the Peebles trade name as a result of its multi-year conversion strategy. Net sales, meanwhile, slipped to $520m from $549m last year, while comparable sales decreased 2.4% for total company. Shifted comparable sales increased 0.8% in off-price, increased 0.5% for department stores, and increased 0.6% for total company.

Dollar Tree

US discount retailer Dollar Tree delivered what CEO called Gary Philbin "strong" fourth-quarter sales despite a dip in consolidated net sales in the period to US$6.21bn from $6.36bn last year. Excluding $406.6m of sales from the extra week in the prior year's quarter, consolidated net sales increased by 4.2%. On a constant currency basis, enterprise same-store sales increased 2.4%, while same-store sales for the Dollar Tree banner were up 3.2% on a constant currency basis. Same-store sales for the Family Dollar banner rose 1.4%. Net loss for the quarter, including discrete charges, was  $2.31bn, having widened from $1.04bn last year. Gross margin decreased to 30.8% compared to 33% in the prior year. The decline was driven primarily by higher markdowns, including a $40m SKU rationalisation markdown reserve at Family Dollar, domestic freight, shrink, distribution costs, and occupancy costs which de-levered due to cycling the extra week in the prior year's fourth quarter, partially offset by lower merchandise costs.

Burlington Stores

Burlington Stores CEO, Tom Kingsbury, said the company's fourth-quarter sales performance was below expectations, but noted the quarter represented the firm's most difficult fiscal 2018 one and two year quarterly comparable store sales comparisons. For the 13 weeks to 2 February, total sales increased 2.8% over last year's 14-week period to US$1.99bn. Burlington noted last year's 53rd week added $82m in sales to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. Excluding the 53rd week last year, total sales increased 7.4%. Comparable store sales increased 1.3% on a shifted basis, on top of last year's 5.9% comparable store sales increase and a 4.6% increase during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016. Net income on a 13-week basis was $184m, compared to $241m on a 14-week basis last year. Excluding last year's impact of the 53rd week and the revaluation of 2017 deferred tax liabilities, adjusted net income increased 28%. Excluding the 53rd week last year, gross margin as a percentage of net sales was flat on last year's rate at 42%. 

American Eagle Outfitters

American Eagle Outfitters CEO Jay Schottenstein hailed a record fourth-quarter which saw total net revenue for the 13 weeks ended 2 February increase US$15m, or 1% to $1.24bn, compared to $1.23bn in the ear ago period. Total revenue was adversely affected by about $60m of lost revenue due to operating one less week in 2018, which is consistent with the retail calendar. Consolidated comparable sales increased 6%, following an 8% increase last year. This marked the 16th consecutive quarter of positive comparable sales. Net income, however, fell to $76.2m in the period, down from $93.96m last year. Gross margin was flat at a rate of 34.6%. Lower markdowns were offset by higher distribution and compensation expense, the company said.

Chico's

Chico's FAS swung to a loss in the fourth quarter, reporting a net loss of US$16.6m for the three months to 2 February 2019, compared to net income of $28m in the year-ago period. The company reported a fourth-quarter adjusted net loss of $8.6m, compared to adjusted net income of $14.5m last year. Gross margin narrowed to 30.2% from 37.7% last year. The company said the decline primarily reflects a 550-basis point decrease related to the clearing of Chico's brand seasonable merchandise, the continued expansion of its omnichannel programmes and deleverage of occupancy costs as well as a 200-basis point charge due to its retail fleet optimisation plan. Net sales, meanwhile, were $524.7m, compared to $587.8m in last year's fourth quarter. Chico's said the 10.7% decline reflects the $29m benefit of the 53rd week in last year's fourth quarter, a comparable sales decline of 3.8% and a decrease in selling square footage in fiscal 2018. The comparable sales decline was driven by a decrease in transaction count and lower average dollar sale.

As previously announced, Chico's intends to close at least 250 stores in the US over the next three years as part of its efforts to better capitalise on its omnichannel platform, reduce costs, improve profitability and return on invested capital. The company said it expects to close about 60 to 80 stores in fiscal 2019. It added the closings will be across all brands and weighted to the second half of the fiscal year. They are expected to have minimal impact on sales and earnings in fiscal 2019.

In addition, Chico's has appointed fashion retail veteran Karen McKibbin as president of its namesake brand. McKibbin will oversee all business activities for Chico's and will report directly to CEO Shelley Broader. She joins the company from Nordstrom.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co

Fran Horowitz, CEO of US apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co, said the company ended 2018 on a strong note, recording its sixth consecutive quarter. In the 13 weeks ended 2 February, net income reached US$96.9m, up from $74.2m in the year-ago period. Net sales of $1.2bn for the quarter declined 3% from last year. The company said the results reflect a combined adverse impact of about 6% due to the calendar shift, the loss of fiscal 2017's 53rd week and foreign currency fluctuations.  Comparable sales increased 3%, with Hollister up 6%, while Abercrombie fell 2%. Gross profit rate was 59.1%, up 70 basis points from last year and up about 20 basis points on a constant currency basis, net of hedging.

Target Corp

Brian Cornell, CEO of US department store retailer Target, says the company is very pleased with its fourth-quarter performance, which "capped off an outstanding year for Target". For the three months ended 2 February, net earnings totalled US$799m, compared to $1.09bn in the year-ago period. Gross margin rate narrowed to 25.7% from 26.1% 2017, reflecting higher digital fulfilment and supply chain costs, partially offset by the benefit of merchandising strategies. Revenues totalled $23bn, essentially flat to last year, while comparable sales grew 5.3%. Stores comparable sales grew 2.9% in the period, while comparable digital sales grew 31%, contributing 2.4 percentage points to comparable sales growth.

Kohl's

Michelle Gass, CEO of US department store retailer Kohl's, said the positive momentum the company has had all year continued into the fourth quarter, with the business achieving a 1% comp sales increase, its sixth consecutive quarter of positive growth. For the three months to 2 February, total revenue slipped 3.3% to US$6.8bn from $7.1bn in the year ago period. Net income, meanwhile, soared 42% to $272m from $468m. Gross margin was flat at 33.5%.

Ross Stores

Ross Stores CEO Barbara Rentler said sales and earnings for the fourth quarter outperformed expectations, despite the company's challenging multi-year comparisons and "weakness" in its ladies apparel business during the holiday season. For the period ended 2 February, net earnings totalled US$442m, compared to $451m in the year-ago quarter. Sales in the period edged up to $4.11bn from $4.07bn last year, with comparable store sales up 4% on last year. The increase was on top of a 5% gain in last year's fourth-quarter.

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters has booked record fourth-quarter revenue as total company net sales for the three months ended 31 January increased 3.7% over the same period last year to US$1.13bn. This compares to $1.09bn last year. Comparable retail segment net sales increased 3%, driven by double-digit growth in the digital channel, partially offset by negative retail store sales. By brand, comparable retail segment net sales increased 4% at Free People, 4% at Urban Outfitters and 2% at the Anthropologie Group. Wholesale segment net sales increased 3%. Net income, meanwhile, slipped to $86.4m from $1.32bn last year, while gross profit rate improved by 172 basis points.

The Children's Place

Jane Elfers, CEO of speciality retailer The Children's Place, has warned the liquidation of direct competitor Gymboree Group, coupled with a very late Easter, will create "unprecedented" near-term visibility challenges for the company. To address these challenges, The Children's Place, took strategic action in the fourth quarter to significantly accelerate the liquidation of its seasonal inventories which adversely impacted fourth-quarter EPS by $0.79.  However, Elfers said the company's lean inventory levels entering the first quarter better position it to prioritise the sell-through of its spring seasonal product in what it anticipates will be a highly volatile first half of 2019.

For the 13 weeks to 2 February, net income totalled US$12m, or $0.74 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $9.9m, or ($0.57) per diluted share, the previous year. Net sales decreased 6.9% to $530.6m in the period from $570m a year ago, inclusive of an adverse impact of about  $37m resulting from the calendar shift related to the 53rd week in the fourth quarter of 2017. Comparable retail sales decreased 0.6% in the fourth quarter, while e-commerce sales increased 20.1% on a comparable week basis to 27% of total sales. Adjusted gross margin deleveraged 550 basis points to 31.5% of sales, primarily as a result of a decline in merchandise margin related to the decision to accelerate the liquidation of seasonal carryover merchandise in advance of Gymboree's liquidation event. It was also adversely impacted by the deleverage of fixed expenses resulting from the modest decline in comparable retail sales and increased penetration of the e-commerce business, which operates at a lower gross margin rate.

The Children's Place has also announced it will pay $76m for the intellectual property rights related to the Gymboree and Crazy 8 brands, including related copyrights, trademarks, internet domains, and customer data. The retailer also agreed to take over Gymboree's contract with Singapore-based Zeavion Holding Pte. Ltd, which operates Gymboree's Play & Music business.

Gap Inc

US speciality retailer Gap Inc has reported a rise in net income to US$276m for the 13 weeks to 2 February, from $205m in the year-ago period. The company's gross margin was 35.6%, a decrease of 120 basis points compared with last year. During the first quarter of fiscal 2018, Gap adopted a new revenue recognition standard, ASC 606. Excluding the impact of presentation changes from this adoption, gross margin was 34.2%, a decrease of 260 basis points compared with last year, largely driven by elevated promotional activity at Old Navy and Gap brand. Net sales, meanwhile, dropped to $4.62bn from $4.78bn last year. Excluding the presentation changes, net sales decreased 7%. Total comparable sales were down 1% compared with a 5% increase last year. Within this, comparable sales were flat at Old Navy versus a 9% rise last year, while both Banana Republic and Gap saw declines. The brands reported comparable sales falls of 1% and 5% respectively. 

In addition, the retailer has announced the closure of 230 of its namesake brand stores and revealed plans spin off the group's Old Navy brand into an independent, publicly traded company.

Crocs

Revenues at US footwear firm Crocs totalled US$216m in the three months ended 31 December, an 8.5% rise on the fourth quarter of 2017, or 11.3% on a constant currency basis. The firm said store closures and business model changes reduced its revenues by about $7m. Its wholesale business grew 9.7%, its e-commerce businesses by 18.9% and its retail comparable store sales were up 13.4%. Net loss widened in the period, however, totalling $118.7m, compared to $28.3m in the fourth quarter of 2017. After adjusting for non-recurring SG&A charges in the fourth quarters of 2018 and 2017, and for the non-recurring accounting adjustments related to the Blackstone Transaction, Crocs said its non-GAAP net loss attributable to common stockholders were $7.7m and $18.9m in the fourth quarters of 2018 and 2017, respectively. Gross margin in the period was 46.2%, an increase of 80 basis points over last year's fourth quarter. The increase was driven by strong sales of high-margin clogs, the strength of the firm' direct-to-consumer business and a disciplined approach to promotions.?

Nordstrom

Nordstrom booked a 64.2% rise in earnings in the fourth quarter to US$248m from $151m last year. The upscale department store operator said the increase was primarily due to lower income tax expense associated with corporate tax reform. Net sales, meanwhile, fell to $4.4bn from $4.6bn last year, while comparable sales increased 0.1%. Gross margin decreased 33 basis points to 35.1%, compared with the same period in fiscal 2017, primarily due to higher markdowns taken in response to softer full-price sales trends and an elevated promotional environment.

JC Penney

Jill Soltau, CEO of beleaguered US department store retailer JC Penney has admitted the company has "much work" to do to position it for success and create long-term value for shareholders. For the 13 weeks to 2 February, net income totalled US$75m, compared to $242m in the same period last year. Total net sales, meanwhile, decreased 9.5% to $3.67bn from $4.05bn last year. On a shifted basis, which compares the 13 weeks ended 2 February 2019 and 3 February 2018, comparable sales decreased 4%. On an unshifted basis, comparable sales for the fourth quarter decreased by 6 %. JC Penney said women's apparel, children's apparel, and men's apparel were among its top performing divisions during the quarter.

In addition, JC Penney has announced it will close 18 full-line stores in 2019, including the three locations previously announced in January.

TJX Companies

Ernie Herrman, CEO of TJX Companies, has hailed the firm's "strong" fourth-quarter results as both sales and earnings per share exceed expectations. For the period ended 2 February, net sales increased 2% to US$11.1bn over the 14-week period last year. Consolidated comparable store sales were up 6% on a 4% increase in the year ago period. Net income, meanwhile, slipped to $841.5m from $877.3m in the prior year quarter, while gross profit margin narrowed to 27.8% from 28.4%. Diluted earnings per share for the 13 weeks were $0.68, versus $0.69 in the prior year's 14-week fourth-quarter.

L Brands

L Brands booked a mixed fourth quarter as net sales increased but earnings tumbled as a US$99.2m pre-tax charge related to the sale of La Senza took its toll on profits. For the 13 weeks to 2 February, net income totalled $540.1m, compared to $664.1m for the 14-week period last year. Excluding the pre-tax charge related to La Senza, a charge in 2017 of $45m related to a loss on the early extinguishment of debt, and a tax benefit of $92.2m in the year, L Brands said adjusted 13-week fourth-quarter net income was $595.2m, compared to $600.6m for the 14-week period last year. Net sales, meanwhile, were $4.85bn for the period, compared to $4.82bn last year. Comparable sales increased 3% compared to the prior year quarter.

Steve Madden

Edward Rosenfeld, CEO of US footwear and accessories specialist Steve Madden, said the company is pleased to have delivered a strong fourth quarter which saw net sales increase 12.6% to US$410.4m, compared to $364.4m in the same period of 2017. Net sales for the wholesale business increased 14.1% to $317.4m, while retail net sales rose 7.9% to $93m.  Same store sales increased 4% in the quarter driven by strong performance in the company's e-commerce business. Net income, however, slipped to $12.5m from $24.6m in the prior year's fourth quarter. Gross margin narrowed to 37.1% from 38.4% a year ago. 

Macy's Inc

Jeff Gennette, CEO of Macy's Inc, said while the department store chain delivered positive comparable sales against what was a strong holiday season in 2017, its fourth-quarter results were lower than its expectations. For the 13 weeks to 2 February, net income totalled US$740m, compared to $1.35bn in the year-ago period. Net sales, meanwhile, slipped to $8.46bn from $8.67bn last year, while comparable sales for the quarter edged up 0.4%.

Meanwhile, Macy's has outlined the initial step in its North Star strategy, which was launched in early 2017 to help return the company to growth. Its plans include a restructuring of the upper management structure which it says will allow it to better invest in areas such as inventory planning and supply chain efficiencies.

Dillard's

Dillards has booked a drop in both earnings and sales in its fourth-quarter. For the 13 weeks ended 2 February 2019, net income totalled US$85.1m, compared to net income of $157.6m for the 14 weeks to 3 February 2018. The company said an estimated tax benefit of about $77.4m is included in net income for the prior year fourth-quarter related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Net sales, meanwhile, slipped to $2.01bn from $2.06bn last year, while gross margin from retail operations declined 69 basis points of sales to 30.3% compared to 31% last year, primarily due to increased markdowns.

Rocky Brands

US apparel and footwear company Rocky Brands booked a mixed fourth-quarter as sales rose but earnings dipped. For the period ended 31 December, net income fell to US$3.6m from $4.4m in the year ago period. Net sales, meanwhile, edged up to $67.2m from $67m in the fourth quarter of 2017. Gross margin increased 3.4% to 35.9%, compared to 34.8% for the same period last year. The company said the 110 basis point increase was driven by a lower percentage of military sales, which carry lower gross margins than wholesale and retail sales, and higher military segment margins versus the same period last year.

CEO Jason Brooks said: "We believe we have the right strategies in place to build on our recent momentum and continue generating increased value for our shareholders over the long-term."

Carter's

Michael Casey, CEO of Carter's, said the company saw good demand for its brands in the final months of 2018, with growth driven by its retail and wholesale businesses. Consolidated net sales in the three months to 29 December increased US$58.5m, or 5.7%, to $1.1bn. US retail segment sales were up 7.1% to $606.3m, while US retail comparable sales increased 5.7%, reflecting growth in both e-commerce and retail store sales. US wholesale segment sales rose 6.5%, to $351.4m. Net income, however, decreased $5.6m, or 4.1%, to $130.6m in the period from $136.1m last year. Carter's added fourth quarter fiscal 2017 results include a net tax benefit of $40m related to TCJA and after-tax expense of $15.1m  for special compensation and related payroll taxes awarded as a result of this tax reform legislation.

Casey added: "We believe Carter's is well-positioned to achieve good growth in sales and earnings in the years ahead."

Wolverine Worldwide

Wolverine Worldwide has hailed an "excellent finish" to the year, including better-than-expected earnings on revenue growth that was in line with expectations. Net earnings totalled US$39.3m in the period ended 29 December, compared to a net loss of $60.8m in the prior year quarter. Reported revenue, meanwhile, increased 0.2% during the period to reach $579.6m, compared to 578.6m last year. Underlying revenue increased by 3.8% and further adjusting for currency, was up by 4.6% marking the highest quarterly revenue growth of the year driven by the firm's two largest brands Merrell and Sperry. Reported gross margin was 39.2%, as compared to 38.4% in the prior year. On an adjusted basis, gross margin expanded 70 basis points compared to the prior year.

Walmart

Walmart revealed a rise in both earnings and revenue in the fourth quarter as net income totalled US$3.69bn, compared to $2.12bn in the year-ago period. Total revenue was up 1.9% or $2.5bn to $138.8bn in the quarter, with US revenues up 4.1% to $90.5bn. Comparable US store sales rose 6.8%, boosted by a 43% jump in domestic e-commerce sales. International net sales, meanwhile, were up 2.3% to $32.3bn.

Under Armour

US sportswear brand Under Armour moved to a profit in the three months to 31 December as net income totalled US$4.2m, compared to a net loss of $87.9m in the year-ago period. Gross margin increased 160 basis points to 45% compared to the prior year, including a $2m impact related to restructuring efforts. Excluding restructuring efforts in both periods, adjusted gross margin increased 160 basis points to 45.1% compared to last year, driven predominantly by regional and channel mix, product cost improvements, lower promotional activity, and lower air freight partially offset by changes in foreign currency. Revenue was up 2% to $1.4bn. Sales in the firm's domestic business were down 6% in the quarter to $965m, while international sales  increased 24% to $395m. Apparel revenue, meanwhile, increased 2% to $970m , while footwear revenue decreased 4% to $235m primarily driven by lower sales to the off-price channel.

Columbia Sportswear

Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle has hailed record fourth quarter and full year results that "significantly exceeded" the company's outlook. Net income in the period ended 31 December, increased to a record US$113.3m, compared to a net loss of $7.1m in the year-ago period. The firm also reported record net sales of $917.6m, up 18% on net sales of $776m for the prior year period. Looking ahead, the company currently expects full year 2019 net sales of about $2.97bn-$3.03bn, representing 6%-8% net sales growth, compared with full year 2018 net sales of $2.8bn.

Skechers USA

Casual footwear brand Skechers USA has booked record fourth-quarter sales with revenue reaching U$1.08bn in the period, an increase of 11.4%, or 13.7% on a constant currency basis. Skechers said the rise was the result of an 18.4% increase in the company's international wholesale business, a 7.5% increase in its company-owned global retail business, and a 4.8% increase in its domestic wholesale business. Comparable same store sales in company-owned retail stores worldwide, including e-commerce, increased 1.1%, including an increase of 3% in its international stores and 0.4% in the United States. Net earnings, meanwhile, totalled $47.4m, compared to a net loss of $66.7m in the year-ago period. Gross margins increased 90 basis points to 47.7% as higher domestic margins from improved retail pricing and product mix was partially offset by the negative impact of foreign currency exchange rates.

HanesBrands 

Underwear and activewear maker HanesBrands has booked its sixth consecutive quarter of revenue growth as net sales increased 7% to US$1.77bn in the three months to 29 December. Activewear segment fourth-quarter sales increased by 13%, driven by increased Champion sales and sales growth of American Casualwear, which consists of branded printwear sales to the screen-print industry, seasonal wholesale activewear programs, and Alternative Apparel. International segment sales climbed 12%, while innerwear segment sales in the fourth quarter were flat to a year ago.Net income, meanwhile, totalled $161.6m, compared to a net loss of $384.6m in the year-ago period.

Levi Strauss & Co

Jeans giant Levi Strauss & Co has hailed an "outstanding year" but reported a mixed fourth-quarter as revenues increased but earnings tumbled. The company blamed a tax charge related to the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for a 17% drop in net income in the period which saw profit fall to US$97m from $116m a year earlier. Gross margin for the period narrowed slightly to 53.2% from 53.4% in the same quarter of fiscal 2017, reflecting the margin benefit from revenues growth in the company's global direct-to-consumer channel being more than offset by growth in lower margin businesses, foreign currency translation effects, and inventory clearance. Net revenues, meanwhile, climbed 9% on a reported basis to $1.59bn from $1.47bn last year. On a constant currency basis, sales were up 11%. In Europe, net revenues were up by 13%, while in the Americas and Asia sales grew by 8% and 5% respectively.

Full-year net income was flat as higher operating income, lower interest expense, gains on hedging contracts in the current year, as well as a debt refinancing charge in the prior year, were partially offset by a one-time $143m tax charge related to the Tax Act. Full-year net revenues grew 14% on a reported basis and 13% on a constant currency basis, which excludes $44m in favourable currency translation effects.