Thursday, August 5, 2010

Earnings Update: Liz Claiborne Jumps on Earnings Talk

Lately Liz Claiborne (LIZ) has basically been left for dead, but today they forecasted a substantial improvement to 2H operating results and a solid profit in Q4. Even though the estimates for Q3 were already for a profit of $.04, the stock had traded down some 50% due to fears of LIZ slipping back into a spiral down. The news was very encouraging that LIZ has indeed finally turned the corner hence the stock is up nearly 15%.

LIZ is a core holding in our Opportunistic and Growth portfolios since we think this franchise from includes Juicy Coture, Lucky Brands, and Kate Spade has huge upside potential once the restructuring finally produces results. Its been several years in the process now, but its apparently finally taking hold. Now with management back to focusing on managing the existing businesses we expect much better results and higher margins due to the elimination of weak business lines.

Highlights from Reuters:

* Q2 adj loss $0.19/shr vs est loss $0.46/shr

* Sees adjusted profit in Q4

* Sees "meaningful improvement" in H2

* Sees margin improvement from J.C. Penney deal

* "Three years of work on the portfolio, on resource allocation, on channel mix ... on inventory and inventory systems and on cost structure are beginning to yield an improved earnings picture," Chief Executive William McComb said on a call with analysts.

* The owner of the Juicy Couture, Kate Spade and Lucky Brand chains said adjusted income in the third quarter would be flat to slightly negative, while the fourth quarter would turn positive for the company.

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