Everyone’s excited about the retail sector and with companies like Williams Sonoma (WSM) and Children’s Place (PLCE) posting earnings beats with upbeat guidance, you would expect the surge in retail to continue. But for some companies, all of this may not be enough.
L Brands (LB) has echoed this sentiment as profit forecasts have been slashed after a tough second quarter. In July, Victoria’s Secret sent its stocks tumbling when it announced that weak sales during semi-annual sale forced it to extend the event by two weeks and offer steeper discounts. The lingerie player has struggled under the pressure of new competition from millennial-focused brands like American Eagle’s Aerie division, Adore Me and ThirdLove among others.
Earnings per share was 36 cents, adjusted, vs. 34 cents expected and revenue was $2.98 billion vs. $2.93 billion expected. In addition, fiscal second-quarter net income of $99 million, or 36 cents per share, down from $138.9 million, or 48 cents per share a year earlier.
“We believe this all means the brand is broken,” wrote Jefferies analyst Randal Konik.
Today, we are announcing another quarter of strong results with topline growth at the high-end of guidance, gross margin significantly above last year and a substantial EPS outperformance. Our powerful multi-channel, multi-brand platform, together with our strong execution of our strategic initiatives in digital leadership, product innovation, retail transformation and operational excellence are having a positive impact on all parts of our business. Given the results in the first half and the momentum our initiatives are creating, we are raising our full-year guidance for net revenues, comp revenue growth, operating margin and EPS.
-Williams-Sonoma CEO Laura Alber
Williams-Sonoma is targeting revenue in the range of $1.355 billion to $1.38 billion, comparable-brand revenue growth of 3% to 5%, and adjusted earnings per share of $0.90 to $0.95.
For Children’s Place, the pre market has not been kind. Share plummeted from $148.5 to as low as $135.5 during this time. On Thursday the company reported fiscal second-quarter profit of $7.5 million. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations with the average estimate of four analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 57 cents per share. The Children’s Place expects its per-share earnings to range from $2.97 to $3.07. Analysts surveyed by Zacks had forecast adjusted earnings per share of $2.98.