Shares of Guess? Inc. (NYSE: GES) fell 19.4% on Thursday after the clothing retailer announced solid fiscal first-quarter 2019 results but followed with underwhelming forward earnings guidance.
On the former, the company’s quarterly revenue grew 14.7% year over year (or 8% at constant currency), to $521.3 million. This translated to an adjusted loss of $17.8 million, or $0.23 per share, narrowed from a loss of $0.24 per share in the same year-ago period. Analysts, on average, were looking for roughly the same adjusted loss on lower revenue of $508 million.
Guess? CEO Victor Herrero noted that the company’s results were near the high end of the company’s expectations and credited particularly strong momentum in both Europe and Asia. Herrero also praised its efforts in North America, where the company achieved 1% comparable-sales growth “while being significantly less promotional.”
“Overall, I am very excited by the continued momentum, as the first quarter marks the seventh consecutive quarter of revenue growth for the company,” Herrero added. “For me, it speaks to the global strength and potential of the Guess? brand.”
Looking forward to the fiscal second quarter, however, Guess? told investors to expect revenue growth of between 14% and 15.5%, with adjusted earnings of $0.27 to $0.30 per share. By contrast, most investors were looking for a more modest 8.5% revenue growth, but with earnings near the high end of the company’s guidance range.
Finally, for the full fiscal year, Guess? sees revenue climbing between 8.5% and 9.5%, marking an increase from its previous guidance for 7% to 8% growth, with adjusted earnings per share of $0.88 to $0.99. Here again, Wall Street was anticipating earnings near the high end of the company’s range, at $0.97 per share, and more modest full fiscal-year revenue growth of 7.6%.
In the end, while it’s hard to fault Guess? for its better-than-expected top-line growth, the market is disappointed that this growth still seems to be coming at the expense of profitability. With shares nearly doubling in the year leading up to this report, it’s no surprise to see the stock pulling back today.
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