Michael Kors shares pop after bright 1Q, outlook

Demand for luxury goods drives Michael Kors 1Q profit up 82 percent; lifts forecast for year

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Strong demand for Michael Kors' luxury goods again propelled profit in its latest quarter, and the clothing, accessories and handbag maker lifted its outlook for the year.

Shares rose 3 percent in morning trading Tuesday, hitting their highest level since the initial public stock offering in December 2011.

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. said net income in its fiscal first quarter, which ran through June 29, rose 82 percent to $125 million, or 61 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 49 cents per share.

Last year's first-quarter profit came to $68.6 million, or 34 cents per share.

Revenue surged 55 percent, to $640.9 million from $414.9 million, surpassing analysts' prediction of $567.8 million. Revenue at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer's health, rose 27 percent. The measure gained 25 percent in North America and 56 percent in Europe. Sales also got a boost from 75 store openings over the past year. The Hong Kong-based company had 442 stores at quarter's end, including licensed locations.

The company's strong profit growth since its IPO — earnings nearly tripled in the fiscal year that ended in March — reflects luxury shoppers' continued appetite for posh handbags and clothing despite economic challenges. Global luxury sales, including higher-end jewelry and clothes, rose about 10 percent to $282 billion last year, according to a Bain & Co. study.

For the year, which runs through March 2014, Michael Kors lifted its earnings outlook to $2.67 to $2.69 per share from a range of $2.43 to $2.47 per share. It now expects revenue between $2.8 billion and $2.9 billion, up from its prior forecast for $2.65 billion to $2.75 billion.

Analysts anticipated earnings of $2.57 per share on revenue of $2.85 billion.

In the current quarter, Michael Kors sees earnings of 62 cents to 64 cents per share, in line with Wall Street estimates, on revenue of $695 million to $705 million, above analysts' prediction of $694 million.

The stock added $2.05 to $69.93 Tuesday, peaking at a fresh record high of $71.50 just after the market open. The company went public at $20 per share. Shares had risen 33 percent this year.

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