Steven Madden, Ltd. SHOO came up with its fourth-quarter 2019 results, wherein the bottom line met the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while the top line missed the same. We note that net sales improved year over year but earnings per share came below the prior-year reported figure. Notably, the company witnessed incremental sales at its retail business but registered a decline across its wholesale business.
Looking ahead, management remains concerned about the coronavirus outbreak, China tariffs and the termination of the Kate Spade footwear license. As a result, the company disappointed investors with its 2020 projection. We note that shares of this designer and marketer of fashion footwear and accessories fell 6% during the trading session on Feb 27. Meanwhile, the stock has plunged roughly 23% in the past three months compared with the industry’s decline of about 3%.
Steven Madden delivered adjusted earnings of 39 cents a share that came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate, following positive surprises in the preceding eight quarters. We note that the bottom line declined 7.1% from 42 cents reported in the year-ago period, in spite of higher net sales, lower effective tax rate and share repurchase activity. Quite apparently, increase in cost of sales (up 1.3%) and adjusted operating expenses (up 4%) hurt the bottom line.
Total revenues improved 0.7% year over year to $419.6 million. This comprises an increase of 1.1% in net sales of $414.9 million but a decline of 27.3% in commission and licensing fee income of $4.7 million. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter under review was pegged at $425.2 million.
Revenues for the wholesale business fell 1.1% to $313.8 million, reflecting decrease in wholesale accessories/apparel revenues.
We note that wholesale footwear revenues declined 0.2% to $233.4 million. Wholesale accessories/apparel revenue tumbled 3.6% to $80.4 million, on account of declines in private label handbags and cold weather accessories, partly offset by the addition of the BB Dakota apparel business.
Retail revenues jumped 8.7% to $101.1 million, while same-store sales increased 6.7% on account of sturdy performance in e-commerce business.
Adjusted gross profit came in at $158.7 million, almost flat year over year, while adjusted gross margin contracted 30 bps to 37.8%. Adjusted operating income decreased 12.9% to $33 million, while adjusted operating margin shriveled 120 bps to 7.9%.
We note that gross margin in the wholesale business shrunk 90 basis points to 29.2% thanks to the imposition of tariffs on goods imported from China. Meanwhile, adjusted retail gross margin expanded 60 bps to 61.6%, primarily due to lower promotional activity in stevemadden.com.
The company ended the reported quarter with 227 company-operated retail outlets, comprising eight Internet stores and 31 company-operated concessions in international markets.
Other Financial Aspects
Steven Madden, which carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), ended the reported quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $264.1 million, marketable securities of $40.5 million, and shareholders’ equity of $828.5 million, excluding non-controlling interest of $12.7 million. During the quarter, the company bought back about 589,809 shares for approximately $25.3 million. Management incurred capital expenditures of approximately $9.1 million during the quarter.
Steven Madden envisions revenues for the year 2020 to be flat to up 1% from the prior year. Management expects full-year adjusted earnings in the band of $1.70-$1.80 per share, which is below the current Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.01. This also suggests year-over-year decline from earnings of $1.95 per share reported in 2019. The projected figure reflects an adverse impact of about 35 cents from the coronavirus, tariffs on goods from China, the termination of the Kate Spade footwear license and a higher anticipated tax rate.
Further, management highlighted that the impact of these headwinds will be largely visible in the first half of 2020. Consequently, Steven Madden expects first half revenue to fall in mid-single digits on a percentage basis and first half earnings per share is expected to decline roughly 25%. Nonetheless, the company anticipates reverting back to growth in both the metrics in the back half.
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