Shoes Lead Growth at Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo — Will Versace Be Next?

A month after debuting on the New York Stock Exchange under its new name, Capri Holdings Ltd. is ensuring it starts off on the right foot.

The parent company of Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo and Versace (the latter of which it acquired in a $2 billion deal in late 2018) reported third-quarter fiscal 2019 earnings on Wednesday, beating Wall Street’s expectations and forecasting solid growth in the year to come.

Capri’s shares rose more than 12 percent as the company announced earnings per share of $1.76 for the three months ended Dec. 29, topping the consensus estimate of $1.58 per share.

While its overall revenue remained flat at $1.44 billion, thanks to falling sales at Michael Kors in the wholesale and retail channels, there were bright spots in the results: Revenues at Jimmy Choo, which the company acquired on Nov. 1, 2017, rose from $115 million to $162 million, and executives touted the momentum of the luxury brand.

Across the portfolio, footwear was a high point, demonstrating the strength of the category across both luxury and contemporary price points. At Michael Kors, comparable sales in footwear increased double digits, compared with an overall low-single-digit decline.

On a call with investors and analysts, Capri chairman and CEO John D. Idol highlighted the brand’s fashion sneaker offerings as best-sellers for the quarter, particularly styles with details like embossed snake prints, color blocking and glitter chain mesh embellishment. In the fall, he said, the company plans to expand its men’s business with the launch of a new men’s footwear line “featuring active and modern hybrid streetwear styles.”

Jimmy Choo’s signature shoe offerings were its growth drivers during the quarter, partly offset by weaker handbag sales as the brand transitions into new accessories collections in the coming year. Best-sellers included boots like the knee-high Madalie, the Cruz flat biker boot and the Merril ankle bootie, along with the Romy pump and elasticized Norway sneaker.

Idol also called attention to the Diamond sneaker, a style “inspired by [creative director] Sandra Choi’s unparalleled design vision embodying a sense of lightness and clarity of a diamond in a sculpture trainer.” At $895 to $3,995 (for the Swarovski-encrusted version), Choo’s most luxurious sneaker has “immediately become an iconic offering and generated strong consumer response.”

Looking forward, Idol reiterated the company’s plans to turn Versace into a $2 billion-a-year business (in 2018, its revenues were approximately $890 million). He said the group will leverage its expertise to expand accessories and footwear from 35 percent to 60 percent of Versace’s revenues, and is in the process of building a manufacturing hub in Florence, Italy, to serve all three brands. The accessories rollout is expected to hit stores in spring 2020.

“We feel very confident that what we have is three highly recognized and respected houses of luxury around the world, and we can build on those three houses,” Idol said. “We will have our moments of ups and downs. We know that. But that being said, the opportunity — and I would say in particular in Versace and Jimmy Choo as being very underdeveloped of brands, given what we know from the competitive landscape and what we know from the fact that these houses have such incredible recognition with the consumer. We will optimize those over the next few years, and we think we’ve got the right management teams in place to be able to execute against these plans.”

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