May 30, 2018 / 4:50 PM / in 5 months

Michael Kors says higher spending on Jimmy Choo will hit earnings

(Reuters) - Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (KORS.N) said higher spending to expand its upscale footwear brand Jimmy Choo will weigh on earnings this year, driving shares of the luxury handbag maker down 13 percent on Wednesday.

Kors’ shares have soared some 90 percent over the past year as the company has steadily boosted profit margins by scrapping discounts on its pricey Mercer and Hamilton handbags. But Jimmy Choo, which New York-based Kors bought last year for $1.2 billion (903 million pounds), has seen its popularity wane among younger consumers.

The footwear brand, whose designer stilettos found fame in the 1990s thanks partly to “Sex and the City” character Carrie Bradshaw, is today associated more with rich older women than millennials.

Kors plans to open some 30 new Jimmy Choo stores in the year ending March 2019, it said on Wednesday, adding that it had already signed supermodels Lily Aldridge and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley for the brand’s fall marketing campaigns.

FILE PHOTO: A Michael Kors Holdings Limited retail store is shown in La Jolla, California, U.S., May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

“(Jimmy Choo) has some brand equity to it but there’s some repair work that needs to be done,” said BlueFin Research analyst Rebecca Duval.

Kors’ yearly earnings forecast, which fell largely below Wall Street expectations, partly reflected efforts to turn around the brand, Duval added.

Footwear as a category also weighed on Kors rival Tapestry Inc’s (TPR.N) latest quarterly results, as its upmarket Stuart Weitzmann brand reported disappointing sales after struggling to sell older products.

Kors expects fiscal 2019 earnings of $4.65 to $4.75 per share, reflecting what it said was a 5- to 10-cent hit from investments in Jimmy Choo. Analysts were expecting earnings of $4.74 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The forecast took the shine off Kors’ stronger-than-expected quarterly results which were boosted by selling more handbags and dresses at full price. The company also reported a surprise rise in same-store sales, marking the first increase in two years.

Still, Kors’ forecast was “uninspiring,” given the strengthening handbag market, stable prices at department stores and higher foreign tourism to the United States, RBC Capital Markets analyst Brian Tunick said.

Kors’ shares plunged 12.5 percent to $59.67 on Wednesday afternoon and were on track for their worst one-day dip in three years.

Net income attributable to Kors was $44.1 million in the fourth quarter ended March 31, compared with a net loss of $26.8 million a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 63 cents per share, topping analysts’ estimates of 60 cents.

Revenue rose to $1.18 billion, exceeding analysts’ estimate of $1.15 billion.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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