Steve Madden Q4 Sales, Profit in Line With Forecasts, Unveils Big Plans for Brian Atwood & Anne Klein

Steve Madden today reported fourth-quarter results that were in line with forecasts, with wholesale sales at its flagship brand remaining the biggest contributor to overall growth.

The company — which also owns Schwartz & Benjamin, Betsey Johnson, Brian Atwood and other shoe brands — said its sales during the period increased 8.3 percent to $364.4 million, hitting market watchers’ estimates.

Net income was $24.6 million, or 43 cents per diluted share. On an adjusted basis, net income fell 4.2 percent year over year to $27.5 million, or 48 cents per diluted share, consistent with analysts’ forecasts and at the high end of management’s guidance.

While wholesale business remained strong for the core Steve Madden brand — particularly for women’s — the company’s retail business saw some weakness, with retail net sales increasing 1.5 percent to $86.2 million but same-store sales falling 5.1 percent.

Chairman and CEO Ed Rosenfeld attributed softness in the retail segment to weakness in the boot category.

“We recorded double-digit percentage growth on both the top and bottom lines despite a challenging and rapidly changing retail landscape, demonstrating the power of our brands and the strength of our business model,” Rosenfeld said of the company’s full-year performance. “We had another outstanding year in our core Steve Madden wholesale footwear business. Despite open-to-buy budgets at many of our largest wholesale customers that were flat or even down, the Steve Madden women’s wholesale footwear division grew net sales in the mid-teens on a percentage basis, clearly taking significant market share on the selling floors and websites of our wholesale customers.”

The Steve Madden men’s and kids’ businesses were also standouts, Rosenfeld said, both growing more than 20 percent in 2017.

Overall, 2017 net sales increased 10.5 percent to $1.6 billion. Net income was $117.9 million, or $2.04 per diluted share. On an adjusted basis, net income grew 7 percent to $129.3 million, or $2.24 per diluted share.

Among its major initiatives in the year ahead, Rosenfeld said the company is relaunching the Brian Atwood brand on the Schwartz & Benjamin platform, with products made in Italy and average unit retails of $400 for standard shoes, $600 for booties and $900 for boots.

The firm will also add the Anne Klein brand to the Schwartz & Benjamin portfolio in 2018, as it recently signed an agreement to become the licensee for Anne Klein footwear and handbags starting with fall ’18 shipments.

“We are targeting $80 million to $90 million in net sales under the Anne Klein brand in the first 12 months of shipping, which encompasses the back half of 2018 and the first half of 2019,” Rosenfeld added.

For fiscal 2018, the company expects net sales will increase 5 percent to 7 percent over net sales in 2017. Diluted EPS is expected in the range of $2.60 to $2.67.

As of 12 p.m. ET, Steve Madden shares were in the red 0.3 percent to $44.05.

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