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Liz Claiborne Inc. Reports 3rd Quarter and Nine Month Results

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Liz Claiborne Inc. Reports 3rd Quarter and Nine Month Results

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Nov. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Reports Q3 pro-forma adjusted EBITDA of $23 million, in-line with guidance, excluding foreign currency transaction gains
  • Reports GAAP earnings per share of $0.02 and adjusted earnings per share of $0.05
  • Completed five transactions generating $471 million in cash proceeds since August

Liz Claiborne Inc. (NYSE: LIZ) today announced earnings for the third quarter of 2011. For the third quarter of 2011 on a GAAP basis, income from continuing operations was $2 million, or $0.02 per share, compared to a loss from continuing operations of ($42) million, or ($0.45) per share, for the third quarter of 2010.

Adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations for the third quarter was $0.05, compared to an adjusted loss per share from continuing operations of ($0.16) for the third quarter of 2010 (inclusive of gains of $0.11 per share in the third quarter of 2011 and losses of ($0.18) per share in the third quarter of 2010, primarily resulting from the impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates on our eurobond).

Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter of 2011 was $28 million, compared to $36 million for the third quarter of 2010 (excluding gains of $16 million in the third quarter of 2011 and losses of ($28) million in the third quarter of 2010, primarily resulting from the impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates on our eurobond).

Net sales for the third quarter were $398 million, a decrease of $40 million, or 9.1%, from the comparable 2010 period. Excluding the impact of a $31 million decrease in net sales of brands that have been licensed or exited, a significant portion of which was associated with our Axcess brand and our Liz Claiborne family of brands as we transitioned to the licensing model under the arrangements with JCPenney in the US and Puerto Rico and with QVC, net sales decreased $9 million, or 1.9%.

The Company also announced October 2011 direct to consumer comparable sales as follows:

Brand

October *

Juicy Couture

(13%)

Lucky Brand

23%

kate spade

54%


* Results are preliminary and subject to month-end closing adjustments.



For the first nine months of 2011, the Company recorded a loss from continuing operations of ($108) million, or ($1.14) per share, compared to a loss from continuing operations for the first nine months of 2010 of ($115) million, or ($1.22) per share. Adjusted loss per share from continuing operations in the first nine months of 2011 was ($0.45) compared to an adjusted loss per share from continuing operations of ($0.27) in the first nine months of 2010 (inclusive of (losses) of ($0.07) per share in the first nine months of 2011 and gains of $0.07 per share in the first nine months of 2010, primarily resulting from the impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates on our eurobond).

Net sales for the first nine months of 2011 were approximately $1.116 billion, a decrease of $92 million, or 7.6%, from the comparable 2010 period.  Excluding the impact of a $126 million decline in net sales related to brands that have been licensed or exited, a significant portion of which was associated with a decrease in sales of our Liz Claiborne family of brands as we transitioned to the licensing model under the arrangements with JCPenney in the US and Puerto Rico and with QVC, net sales increased $34 million, or 2.8%.

William L. McComb, Chief Executive Officer of Liz Claiborne Inc., said: "Pro-forma adjusted EBITDA, excluding foreign currency transaction gains, of $23 million in the third quarter was in line with the outlook we provided on our mid-October conference call. We continue to forecast pro-forma adjusted EBITDA, excluding foreign currency transaction gains or losses, in the range of $80 to $90 million for fiscal 2011 and expect year end net debt to be in the range of $270 to $290 million. For fiscal 2012, we continue to forecast adjusted EBITDA, excluding foreign currency transaction gains or losses, in the range of $130 to $150 million."

Mr. McComb concluded, "Since our mid-October Partnered Brands sale announcement, we have successfully completed the Mexx, Liz Claiborne, Monet, Dana Buchman and Kensie transactions. We are now a more efficient, dynamic, brand-centric, retail-based company and will focus on building and growing our three global lifestyle brands – Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand and kate spade. October direct to consumer comparable sales were in line overall with our expectations as we head into the Holiday season. kate spade posted a 54% comparable sales increase in October, as the kate team continued its stellar execution across all categories and channels. Lucky Brand also maintained its strong direct to consumer sales trend in October, generating comps of 23%, as trend-right product continues to resonate with its customer. While Juicy Couture comps of (13%) were below our expectation, we remain excited about renewed growth, based upon early reviews of the new team's product, which is already in the pipeline and will ship in the first quarter of 2012."

The adjusted results for the third quarter of 2011 and 2010, as well as forward-looking targets, exclude the impact of expenses incurred in connection with the Company's streamlining initiatives and brand-exiting activities, non-cash impairment charges, gain on extinguishment of debt and non-cash write-offs of debt issuance costs. The Company believes that the adjusted results for such periods represent a more meaningful presentation of its historical operations and financial performance since these results provide period to period comparisons that are consistent and more easily understood. The attached tables, captioned "Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Information", provide a full reconciliation of actual results to the adjusted results. We present EBITDA, which we define as income (loss) from continuing operations attributable to Liz Claiborne, Inc., adjusted to exclude income tax provision (benefit), interest expense, net, gain on extinguishment of debt and depreciation and amortization. We also present (i) Adjusted EBITDA, which is EBITDA adjusted to exclude the impact of expenses incurred in connection with the Company's streamlining initiatives and brand-exiting activities, non-cash impairment charges and non-cash share-based compensation expense, (ii) Adjusted EBITDA excluding foreign currency gains (losses), net, which is Adjusted EBITDA further adjusted to exclude unrealized foreign currency gains (losses), net and (iii) Adjusted Pro-Forma EBITDA excluding foreign currency gains (losses), net, which is Adjusted EBITDA excluding Adjusted EBITDA associated with each of the following businesses: Liz Claiborne/JCPenney apparel and handbags; Axcess apparel; Monet Europe; DKNY® Jeans; Kensie and Mac & Jac; Dana Buchman apparel; and our former Curve fragrance brand and related brands. We present the above-described EBITDA measures because we consider them important supplemental measures of our performance and believe they are frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties in the evaluation of companies in our industry. Unless otherwise noted, references to loss from continuing operations, net loss and adjusted loss from continuing operations and associated per share amounts refer to such amounts attributable to Liz Claiborne Inc., which excludes amounts associated with noncontrolling interests.

The Company will sponsor a conference call at 10:00am EST today to discuss its results for the third quarter of 2011. The dial-in number is 1-888-694-4676 with pass code 22874487. The web cast and slides accompanying the prepared remarks can be accessed via the Investor Relations section of the Liz Claiborne website at www.lizclaiborneinc.com. An archive of the webcast will be available on the website. Additional information on the results of the Company's operations is available in the Company's Form 10-Q for the third quarter of 2011, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

THIRD QUARTER RESULTS

Overall Results

Net sales from continuing operations for the third quarter of 2011 were $398 million, a decrease of $40 million, or 9.1% from the third quarter of 2010, reflecting (i) an increase in sales in our Domestic-Based Direct Brands segment; and (ii) a decline in sales of our Partnered Brands segment, including a $31 million decrease in sales of brands that have been licensed or exited, a significant portion of which was associated with our Axcess and our Liz Claiborne family of brands as we transitioned to the licensing model under the JCPenney and QVC arrangements.

Gross profit as a percentage of net sales was 53.7% in the third quarter of 2011 compared to 50.0% in the comparable 2010 period, reflecting a significantly improved gross profit rate in our Partnered Brands segment due to the transition to the licensing model under the JCPenney and QVC arrangements. Total Company gross profit rate was also positively impacted by an increased proportion of sales from our Domestic-Based Direct Brands segment, which runs at a higher gross profit rate than the Company average.

Selling, general & administrative expenses ("SG&A") were $218 million, or 54.7% of net sales in the third quarter of 2011, compared to $219 million, or 50.1% of net sales in the third quarter of 2010. The $1 million decrease in SG&A primarily reflected the following:

  • a $19 million decrease in our Partnered Brands segment and corporate SG&A, inclusive of a decrease associated with our Liz Claiborne family of brands as we transitioned to the licensing model under the JCPenney and QVC arrangements;
  • a $4 million decrease in other expenses associated with our streamlining initiatives and brand-exiting activities; and
  • a $22 million increase in our Domestic-Based Direct Brands segment, primarily due to increases related to direct to consumer expansion.

Impairment of intangible assets was $8 million in the third quarter of 2011 within our Partnered Brands segment, principally related to the indefinite-lived trademarks and customer relationships associated with our Kensie and Mac & Jac brands.

Operating loss was ($12) million ((3.0%) of net sales) in the third quarter of 2011 compared to an operating loss of ($1) million ((0.1%) of net sales) in the third quarter of 2010. Adjusted operating income in the third quarter of 2011 was $7 million (1.9% of net sales) compared to adjusted operating income of $17 million (3.9% of net sales) in 2010.

Other income (expense), net was $17 million in the third quarter of 2011, compared to ($29) million in the third quarter of 2010, primarily reflecting (i) the impact of the partial de-designation of the hedge of our investment in certain euro functional currency subsidiaries, which resulted in the recognition of non-cash foreign currency translation gains (losses) of $15 million and ($26) million on our euro-denominated notes within earnings in the third quarter of 2011 and 2010, respectively; (ii) foreign currency transaction gains and losses; and (iii) equity in earnings of our investment in Kate Spade Japan.

Gain on Sale of Trademarks was $16 million in the third quarter of 2011, resulting from the sale of trademark rights related to our former Curve brand and other smaller fragrance brands.

Interest expense, net increased to $16 million in the third quarter of 2011 compared to $11 million in the third quarter of 2010, primarily reflecting interest expense related to the Senior Notes, which were issued in April 2011, partially offset by a decrease in interest expense due to the tender of 129 million euro of our eurobond.

Provision for income taxes was $3 million in the third quarter of 2011 compared to $1 million in the third quarter of 2010, primarily representing increases in deferred tax liabilities for indefinite-lived intangible assets, current tax on operations in certain jurisdictions and an increase in the accrual for interest related to uncertain tax positions.

Income (Loss) from continuing operations in the third quarter of 2011 was $2 million, or $0.02 per share, compared to a loss from continuing operations in the third quarter of 2010 of ($42) million, or ($0.45) per share. Adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations in the third quarter of 2011 was $0.05, compared to adjusted loss per share from continuing operations of ($0.16) in the third quarter of 2010.

Net loss in the third quarter of 2011 was ($215) million, inclusive of losses related to discontinued operations of ($217) million, compared to a net loss of ($63) million, inclusive of losses related to discontinued operations of ($20) million, in the third quarter of 2010. Loss per share was ($2.27) in the third quarter of 2011 compared to a loss per share of ($0.67) in the third quarter of 2010.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flow

Accounts receivable decreased $125 million, or 45.6%, compared to the third quarter of 2010, primarily due to the presentation of Mexx accounts receivable as held for sale as of the third quarter of 2011, in addition to decreased wholesale sales in our Partnered Brands and Domestic-Based Direct Brands segments.

Inventories decreased $125 million, or 32.8%, to $256 million, compared to the third quarter of 2010, primarily due to i) the presentation of Mexx inventories as held for sale as of the third quarter of 2011; (ii) the period-over-period impact of decreased sales in our Partnered Brands segment; and (iii) the impact of other brands that have been licensed or exited.

Cash flow from continuing operating activities for the last twelve months was $134 million.

Debt outstanding increased to $747 million compared to $737 million in the third quarter of 2010, primarily reflecting $220 million of proceeds from the issuance of the Senior Notes, partially offset by the repayment of $178 million of the eurobond in connection with the Tender Offer, capital expenditures of $81 million, the purchase for $28 million of our Ohio distribution center and $45 million associated with the reclassification of the Mexx debt to held for sale as of the third quarter of 2011.

Proceeds from sales of trademark rights and other transactions of $471 million received by the Company since August 2011 consisted of (i) $58 million associated with the sale of trademarks for certain fragrance brands to Elizabeth Arden Inc,, the Company's fragrance licensee, a lower effective royalty rate associated with the fragrance brands that remain under license, a reduction in the future minimum guaranteed royalties for the term of the license and a pre-payment of certain royalties under the license, which closed in the third quarter; (ii) $268 million associated with the sale of global trademark rights to the Liz Claiborne family of brands and the U.S. and Puerto Rico trademark rights to the Monet brand to J.C. Penney in addition to an advance of $20 million (refundable under certain circumstances) in exchange for our agreement to develop exclusive brands for J.C. Penney, which closed in the 2011 fourth quarter; (iii) $40 million in the aggregate associated with the sale of trademark rights of the Kensie, Kensie Girl and Mac & Jac brands to an affiliate of Bluestar Alliance and the sale of the Dana Buchman trademark to Kohl's, which closed in the 2011 fourth quarter; and (iv) the sale of the global Mexx business to a new entity in which the Company holds an 18.75% interest and affiliates of The Gores Group, LLC hold an 81.25% interest, for cash consideration, subject to working capital adjustments, of $85 million, which closed in the 2011 fourth quarter.

Segment Highlights

Domestic-Based Direct Brands segment - consists of the specialty retail, outlet, wholesale apparel, wholesale non-apparel (including accessories, jewelry, and handbags), e-commerce and licensing operations of our three domestic retail-based operating segments:  Juicy Couture, kate spade and Lucky Brand.

Net sales in our Domestic-Based Direct Brands segment in the third quarter were $313 million, increasing $23 million, or 7.9%, reflecting the following:

Net sales for Juicy Couture were $137 million, a 7.2% decrease compared to 2010, primarily driven by decreases in wholesale apparel, specialty retail and non-apparel, partially offset by increases in our outlet and e-commerce operations. Store counts and key operating metrics are as follows:

  • We ended the quarter with 79 specialty retail stores, 50 outlet stores and 5 concessions, reflecting the net addition over the last 12 months of 9 specialty retail stores, 10 outlet stores and 5 concessions;  
  • Average retail square footage in the third quarter was approximately 436 thousand square feet, a 27.7% increase compared to 2010;
  • Sales per square foot for comparable stores for the latest twelve months were $669; and
  • Comparable direct to consumer sales (inclusive of e-commerce and concessions) decreased by 8.3% in the third quarter of 2011. Until September 2010, the Juicy Couture website was operated by a third party, and our sales to that third party were reflected as wholesale sales. E-commerce comparable sales calculations were based on the retail sales data provided by the third party operator.

Net sales for Lucky Brand were $101 million, a 3.0% increase compared to 2010, primarily driven by increases in specialty retail, e-commerce and outlet, partially offset by a decrease in wholesale apparel and non-apparel. Store counts and key operating metrics are as follows:

  • We ended the quarter with 179 specialty retail stores and 42 outlet stores, reflecting the net closure over the last 12 months of 10 specialty retail stores and the net addition of 5 outlet stores;  
  • Average retail square footage in the third quarter was approximately 559 thousand square feet, a 0.9% decrease compared to 2010;
  • Sales per square foot for comparable stores for the latest twelve months were $408; and
  • Comparable direct to consumer sales (inclusive of e-commerce) increased 15.7% in the third quarter of 2011.

Net sales for kate spade were $75 million, a 69.0% increase compared to 2010, driven by increases in e-commerce, specialty retail, outlet, wholesale non-apparel and wholesale apparel. Store counts and key operating metrics are as follows:

  • We ended the quarter with 49 specialty retail stores and 29 outlet stores, reflecting the net addition  over the last 12 months of 9 specialty retail stores;  
  • Average retail square footage in the third quarter was approximately 144 thousand square feet, a 3.9% increase compared to 2010;
  • Sales per square foot for comparable stores for the latest twelve months were $850; and
  • Comparable direct to consumer sales (inclusive of e-commerce) increased 77.6% in the third quarter of 2011.

Domestic-Based Direct Brands segment operating loss in the third quarter was ($2) million ((0.5%) of net sales), compared to operating income of $5 million (1.6% of net sales) in 2010. Domestic-Based Direct Brands segment adjusted operating income in the third quarter was $5 million (1.6% of net sales), compared to adjusted operating income of $13 million (4.6% of net sales) in 2010.

Partnered Brands segment - consists of one operating segment including the wholesale apparel, wholesale non-apparel, licensing, concession and e-commerce operations of our Liz Claiborne family of brands, Monet family of brands and our Dana Buchman, Kensie, Mac & Jac, and licensed DKNY® brands.

Net sales decreased $63 million, or 42.6%, in the third quarter to $84 million, primarily reflecting a $31 million decrease in sales of our Axcess brand and Liz Claiborne family of brands, which transitioned to the licensing models under the JCPenney and QVC arrangements and a $31 million decrease related to reduced sales in other Partnered Brands, primarily related to our licensed DKNY® Jeans brand.

Partnered Brands segment operating loss in the third quarter was ($7) million ((8.7%) of net sales), compared to an operating loss of ($3) million ((1.9%) of net sales) in 2010. Partnered Brands segment adjusted operating income in the third quarter was $5 million (6.5% of adjusted net sales), compared to adjusted operating income of $6 million (4.3% of net sales) in 2010.

About Liz Claiborne, Inc.

Liz Claiborne Inc. designs and markets a portfolio of retail-based, premium, global lifestyle brands including Juicy Couture, kate spade, and Lucky Brand. In addition, a private brand jewelry design and development group will continue to market brands through department stores as well as serve J. C. Penney via an exclusive license for Liz Claiborne and Monet jewelry lines and Kohl's with a license for Dana Buchman jewelry. The Company also has licenses for the Liz Claiborne New York brand which is available at QVC; Lizwear, which is distributed through the Club Store channel; and the DKNY® Jeans and DKNY® Active brands. Liz Claiborne Inc. maintains an 18.75% stake in the global Mexx business, a European and Canadian apparel and accessories retail-based brand. Visit www.lizclaiborneinc.com for more information.

Liz Claiborne, Inc. Forward-Looking Statement

Statements contained herein that relate to the Company's future performance, financial condition, liquidity or business or any future event or action are forward-looking statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are indicated by words or phrases such as "intend," "anticipate," "plan," "estimate," "target," "forecast," "project," "expect," "believe," "we are optimistic that we can," "current visibility indicates that we forecast" or "currently envisions" and similar phrases. Such statements are based on current expectations only, are not guarantees of future performance, and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. The Company may change its intentions, belief or expectations at any time and without notice, based upon any change in the Company's assumptions or otherwise. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, estimated or projected. In addition, some risks and uncertainties involve factors beyond the Company's control. Among the risks and uncertainties are the following: our ability to continue to have the necessary liquidity, through cash flows from operations, and availability under our amended and restated revolving credit facility may be adversely impacted by a number of factors, including the level of our operating cash flows, our ability to maintain established levels of availability under, and to comply with the financial and other covenants included in, our amended and restated revolving credit facility and the borrowing base requirement in our amended and restated revolving credit facility that limits the amount of borrowings we may make based on a formula of, among other things, eligible accounts receivable and inventory and the minimum availability covenant in our amended and restated revolving credit facility that requires us to maintain availability in excess of an agreed upon level; general economic conditions in the United States, Europe and other parts of the world, including the impact of debt reduction efforts in the United States; levels of consumer confidence, consumer spending and purchases of discretionary items, including fashion apparel and related products, such as ours; restrictions in the credit and capital markets, which would impair our ability to access additional sources of liquidity, if needed; changes in the cost of raw materials, labor, advertising and transportation, which could impact prices of our products; our dependence on a limited number of large US department store customers, and the risk of consolidations, restructurings, bankruptcies and other ownership changes in the retail industry and financial difficulties at our larger department store customers; our ability to successfully implement our long-term strategic plans including the expansion into markets outside of the US such as Kate Spade's joint venture in China; risks associated with the transition of the Mexx business to a new entity in which we hold a minority interest and the possible failure of the Mexx joint venture that may make our interest in the joint venture of little or no value and risks associated with the ability of the controlling JV partner to operate the

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