May 2 Fifth & Pacific Cos Inc reported a
smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss on Thursday, as sales
of its upscale kate spade handbag and clothing brand soared and
the company offered fewer discounts on its Lucky Brand items.
Sales of kate spade items, now the company's biggest brand,
rose 63.1 percent to $141 million, while at Lucky Brand, known
for its contemporary clothing, they were up 16.5 percent at $117
Kate spade competes with the likes of Michael Kors Holdings
Ltd and Coach Inc.
But Fifth & Pacific's other major brand, Juicy Couture, once
its largest, continued to struggle, with sales down 10.7 percent
at $98 million, dragging down overall gross margin 1.6
percentage points to 54.9 percent of sales.
Sources told Reuters in January that Fifth & Pacific may try
to sell Juicy. Last year, the company hired a
new chief executive for the brand, known for its trendy velour
track suits, to try to improve performance.
The net loss narrowed to $52.2 million, or 44 cents per
share, from $60.6 million, or 60 cents per share, a year
Excluding special items, the loss from continuing operations
came to 16 cents per share. That was 2 cents better than
analysts expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Companywide, sales were up 17.2 percent at $371.8 million,
topping the $360.5 million that Wall Street expected, according
to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Fifth & Pacific reaffirmed its forecast for earnings before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization at $120 million
to $150 million for the year.