Feb. 4 - Holiday quarter results from upscale lifestyle brand and retailer Michael Kors shined brightly during a tough period for others as global consumers snatched up Kors products at a solid pace. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Don't count Michael Kors as part of the not-so-Merry Christmas seen by most retailers last year. The upscale lifestyle brand not only saw faster than expected sales during the holiday quarter - it is raising both sales and profit forecasts for 2014. A strong point among many: robust licensing sales for watches and eyewear. While Kors has seen its star rise, rival Coach has seen its star fall, reporting a sharp decline in North American sales during the key end-of-year retail battle. Consumers continue to prefer Kors' trendy handbags, watches and other accessories. Demand for its products has pushed sales growth to at least 40 percent every quarter since going public in 2011. Cowen's Faye Landes describes the results as: "absolutely terrific" and "well ahead of consensus on all key metrics." Adding "It is highly apparent that Kors is gaining market share at a dramatic pace across numerous categories." And the stock is being been rewarded. Shares are up sharply in response to earnings and the guidance, after surging 59 percent last year.