Overheard On Wall Street: Richemont, Finish Line, Athletic Shoe Sales

Check out the business stories and Wall Street chatter you may have missed this week.

Richemont

A tough global macroeconomic backdrop is to blame for Richemont’s 4 percent (constant-currency) sales decline in Q3, the company said on Thursday.

The weak trading in Europe and ongoing weakness in Asia Pacific markets that led to those declines is “likely to prevail” in the final quarter, through March 31, 2016, the company added.

But the merging of its luxury e-tailer, Net-A-Porter Group, with Yoox Group, announced back in March, should boost annual profits by 620 million euros (a non-cash gain).

Still, amid the constant-currency declines in Europe, Asia and the Americas, the company’s sales in Japan climbed 9 percent, while remaining flat in the Middle East and Africa, and analysts have been optimistic about the firm.

“Richemont’s stock is well-positioned to outperform its peers over the long term since the group commands global dominance in the highly fragmented and largely unbranded jewelry market, and its long-term share-gains prospects remain compelling,” wrote Cowen & Co. analyst Oliver Chen. “We expect the group to sustain best-in-class margins and solid free-cash-flow generation through product innovation, infrastructure synergies amongst brands and emerging market growth.”

At actual exchange rates, sales in the third quarter grew 3 percent.

Finish Line Inc.

Finish Line continues to prioritize philanthropy. The company announced Friday that its youth foundation raised more than $877,000 during its annual Holiday Drive for Special Olympics in its stores across the U.S. and online at finishline.com.

“Special Olympics has been our primary partner for nearly five years as we have focused our support on fitness and sustaining healthy lifestyles,” said Marty Posch, president of the Finish Line Youth Foundation, in a release. “Donations from our generous customers during the holiday drive will promote the inclusion of athletes everywhere.”

The company said it also held shopping sprees for Special Olympics athletes at 23 Finish Line stores.

Athletic Shoe Sales

As the rest of retail continues to struggle, athletic footwear shows no signs of slowing down.

Total U.S. athletic footwear point-of-sales advanced 11.2 percent year-over-year for the week ended on Jan. 9, Citi Research analyst Kate McShane wrote, referencing data from SportScan. The results, McShane said, were driven by a 12 percent jump in unit sales and a 0.7 percent drop in average selling prices.

Sales in casual athletic, consisting of brands such as Skechers and Converse and some styles by Nike, were up 27.6 percent year-over-year, versus gains of 10.8 percent last year. Total combined Nike sales were up 14.3 percent.

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