Guess? Inc GES
Q1 2014 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 05/30/2013

Operator: Good day, everyone, and welcome to the Guess? First Quarter Fiscal 2014 Earnings Conference Call. On the call are Paul Marciano, Chief Executive Officer; Nigel Kershaw, Interim Chief Financial Officer; and Russell Bowers, Chief Financial Officer of North America Retail.

During today's call, the Company will be making forward-looking statements, including statements regarding future plans and financial outlook. The Company's actual results may differ materially from current expectations based on risk factors included in the Company's quarterly and annual reports filed with the SEC.

Now, I would like to turn the call over to Paul Marciano.

Paul Marciano - CEO, Vice Chairman and Creative Director: Thank you. Good afternoon and thank you for joining us today. In the first quarter, we delivered adjusted earnings per share of $0.14, which exceeded our earning expectation. This performance is encouraging considering that we continue to operate in a very fragile economic environment in Europe and a challenging North American retail market. But first I would like to update you on our progress on some of the key strategies that I shared with you during our last earning call in March.

Let me start with management in North America. Two new top executive are joining our management team. One to head our design, and one to head our retail merchandizing in North America.

Hillary Super had joined us as a Senior Vice President GMM for Guess? North America. Hillary had the senior merchant role at American Eagle and the Gap. This Monday Sharleen Lazear is joining Guess? as a Chief Design Officer, overseeing all product categories. She has a successful track record on designing brand product that captures the emotions of the consumers, as iconic brands. Her previous role was Executive Vice President of Design and Merchandizing at Victoria's Secret for the last 13 years.

We're now focused on filings of COO and CFO positions. We have made great progress and made – and met solid candidates and I will expect to have similar announcement in our next conference call.

With respect to product, I feel good today about what I see and what's coming in the stores in the four to six months. As I mentioned in our last call, I took step to address this and with the design team, we created a return to the iconic jeans roots of Guess? that we will see first in our full product line and our ad campaigns. As part of the strategy we are also increasing our denim offering, an iconic style at entry price points.

About organization, in the first quarter we executed on our plan to streamline our cost structure in both Europe North America. We made some meaningful change by streamlining processes and aligning department that will allow us to (indiscernible) better efficiency and more flexibility.

Moving now to a business update about our first quarter. Our comp sales for North America Retail was down 9%. February and March were challenging due to weather again. But we started to see improvement in the traffic and comps since Easter, and ultimately exceeded our revenue expectation that was tempered by a soft start for the quarter. Improvement to the product assortment, especially related to our Speed to Market initiative and wonder whether those contributed to this trend. I am also encouraged by the stronger sales that we have seen so far in May as the weather continue to improve and the customers respond probably to our product assortment.

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