Los Angeles Business Journal

Cautious Consumer Spending Hits Guess Profit

By Deborah Crowe Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guess Inc. reported a smaller third quarter profit – missing Wall Street expectations – and gave a more cautious forecast for the current quarter. Despite this, shares were up more than 4 percent Friday morning on analyst optimism.

The Los Angeles apparel company late Wednesday reported net income of $66.3 million (71 cents a share) for the quarter ended Oct. 29, compared with $69.1 million (75 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Sales rose 5 percent to $643 million, but expenses also were up 28 percent.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average had expected per-share profit of 73 cents on revenue of $654 million.

Sales did rise 15 percent in Asia, compared with 4.7 percent growth in North America and 2.3 percent in Europe. “We enjoy momentum in Asia and the newer markets in Europe where our brand is well known but where our business is still under-penetrated,” said Chief Executive Paul Marciano in a statement.

Guess expects fourth quarter per-share profit to come in between $1.03 and $1.09, with revenue between $780 million and $795 million. The Wall Street consensus is for earnings of $1.21 per share on revenue of $816 million.

“It is difficult to predict how long the current economic conditions may persist,” Marciano said. “We are committed to pursuing the long term potential of our iconic lifestyle brand in a very strategic and disciplined way that is consistent with prevailing market conditions.”

Analyst Randal Konik of Jefferies & Co. cut his full-year estimate on the Guess’ adjusted earnings per share from $4 to $3.10, but maintained his "buy" rating. He told clients there were signs that the company’s North American women's business is improving, with stores not needing to make as many drastic markdowns to move merchandise.

Shares on Thursday were up $1.23, or 4.4 percent, to $29.35 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.