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Soft Demand Hurts Hanesbrands (HBI), Innovations Offer Respite

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Hanesbrands Inc. (HBI - Free Report) is battling with greater-than-anticipated challenges in the sales environment, which is hurting its performance. The basic apparel company is battling weakness in the Activewear segment. Weakness in the International unit is also concerning.

Hanesbrands’ reignite Innerwear strategy continues to gain traction. Also, the company’s ongoing cost curtailment efforts are offering respite.

Let’s delve deeper.

Volatile Sales Environment

Hanesbrands is operating amid a challenging sales environment, particularly in the U.S. Activewear market and in Australia. The trend hurt the company’s fourth-quarter 2023 results, with the bottom and the top line missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate and declining year over year. On a constant-currency basis, organic net sales fell nearly 10% on more-than-expected global consumer environment challenges, mainly in the U.S. activewear market and in Australia. Global Champion brand sales tumbled 23%.

Hanesbrands expects to keep witnessing challenges in the sales environment and categories, particularly in the first quarter of 2024. For first-quarter 2024, net sales from continuing operations are expected to be $1.13-$1.19 billion. The midpoint of the guidance suggests a nearly 16% year-over-year decline on a reported basis and a nearly 14% decline on an organic basis at cc. Quarterly adjusted loss from continuing operations is envisioned to be 4-10 cents per share.

Weakness in Core Segments

In the fourth quarter Hanesbrands’ Activewear segment sales plunged 24.1% on tough activewear apparel market dynamics, which include soft consumer demand and cautious ordering from retailers. The company’s strategic brand-related actions continued to affect sales. In the International segment, revenues declined 8.6% in the quarter. We note that growth in Innerwear across the Americas and Champion in China was more than offset by softness in Australia stemming from a challenging macroeconomic environment and Champion decreases in Europe, Japan and Canada. The persistence of these factors poses a threat to the company’s performance.

What’s Working in Hanesbrands’ Favor?

Hanesbrands’ reignite Innerwear strategy has been offering respite. The company is acquiring market share, driven by innovation targeted at a younger consumer demographic, the successful expansion of permanent retail space, a well-executed back-to-school campaign and enhanced on-shelf availability. Leveraging data analytics capabilities, the company supported retail partners in improving sales and working capital efficiency. The company is also managing its inventory more efficiently and reducing SKUs to focus on higher-velocity, higher-margin SKUs.

Regarding innovation, there has been a robust consumer response to new products. In its last earnings call, management highlighted that it is launching cross-category and cross-geography products. Management has an impressive innovation pipeline, which provides visibility to new product offerings through 2025. Well, focus on such innovation launches, coupled with increased investment in brand marketing, keeps the company well positioned for continued market share growth, especially with younger consumers.

Other Apparel Bets

Guess?, Inc. (GES - Free Report) is benefiting from ongoing momentum and strong customer response to its brand. We note that GES remains optimistic about its robust global platform, which will facilitate growth and expansion of the company’s Guess and Marciano businesses, alongside rag & bone, which will mark its first acquisition. In addition, Guess? is committed to its six key strategies and has made remarkable progress against each of them.

Under Armour, Inc.’s (UAA - Free Report) emphasis on its DTC business, bolstered by a successful loyalty program and robust international expansion endeavors, positions the company for sustained growth in the athletic apparel market. A relentless pursuit of product innovation and brand fortification further solidifies its competitive stance, enabling UAA to leverage shifting consumer preferences effectively. Under Armour’s dedication to enhancing the customer experience through tailored offerings and comprehensive omnichannel strategies provides a distinct edge in the market landscape.

G-III Apparel Group, Ltd. (GIII - Free Report) is accelerating digital growth and strives to become the best omnichannel organization. GIII has been investing in its capabilities, including a rapid expansion with the pure-play channel. Well, G-III Apparel undertakes several strategies, including acquisitions and licensing of well-known brands, to expand its product portfolio and make itself a diversified apparel and accessories company.

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