Overheard On Wall Street: Puma’s Q2, Kate Spade, July Retail Declines

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of another hectic week. But before you kick off those heels or moccasin loafers, FN has the Wall Street footwear and apparel buzz to take you into your weekend.

Puma SE

Although footwear provided a substantial nudge for the German sportswear company’s earnings in the second quarter, it wasn’t enough to take Puma’s profits out of the negative as currency headwinds weighed on margins.

For its second quarter, ended on June 30, 2015, Puma posted a net loss of 3.3 million euros, or $3.6 million.

Not all is lost, though — strong performance in footwear, driven by the running and training categories, as well as superstar shoe endorsers like rapper Meek Mill and pop star Rihanna, boosted the quarter’s total revenues.

Revenues were up 18.5 percent year-over-year, to 772.7 million euros, or $854.45 million, and 7.6 percent currency-adjusted.

“We saw a continued positive development of our sales in Q2. This was, again, driven by strong growth in footwear,” said Bjørn Gulden, Puma’s CEO. “We have said that growth in footwear is key for us to turn the company around, and we feel that the investment in new and innovative products is starting to pay off.”

Market watchers continued to speculate that Puma will soon be put up for sale by its parent company, Kering, with many pointing to VF Corp. as a potential suitor.

(Currency translation based on period average.)

Kate Spade New York

This week, Kate Spade announced plans to launch new product lines in every category imaginable as it ramps up its efforts to become a lifestyle brand. Throughout fall 2015 and spring 2016, the company will release new lines of children’s wear, sleepwear and loungewear, fitness apparel, kitchen accessories, tabletop and home décor. And true to its handbag roots, the company is also collaborating with Magnolia Bakery on a dessert-themed handbag line that will be available exclusively at Kate Spade stores.

Ahead of the company’s Q2 earnings release, slated for August, Citi Research analyst Kate McShane reiterated her buy rating on the firm’s stock due to “multiple top-line growth drivers, easing compares, a return to productivity growth and multiple opportunities for margin expansion.”

“We conducted a consumer-based survey to support our hypothesis that the brand is under-recognized amongst its handbag peers by the general American public, and by extension, on the early part of its growth trajectory,” McShane wrote in a July 14 note. “We see significant EBITDA margin-expansion opportunity, and we also believe the Street underappreciates the return to growth in productivity expected by 4Q15.”

July Retail Declines

The first two weeks of July have seen slides in retail traffic across all regions, according to reports by Cowen & Company and Citi Research.

For the second week of July, retail traffic was down 2.47 percent year-over-year — that’s a greater decline than in the first week, which was down 1.82 percent year-over-year.

“This is essentially in line with the average over the last four weeks, [with average declines of] 2.3 percent,” the Cowen report said. “Overall, retail trends remain fairly neutral ahead of back-to-school season, with little evidence of a change in overall traffic or demand.”

While the declines may be a cause for concern, Citi’s McShane noted that the second week’s retail decline was much less than the previous year’s retail traffic decline of 5.04 percent for the same week.

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