Kenneth Cole: Fashion That Pays

Kenneth Cole (NYSE: KCP  ) is a well-known marketer and retailer of footwear, apparel, and related accessories. Fools can count on the company and its products to stay current in the fashion world, and they're also assured of a little extra income from its 3% dividend yield. However, expecting steady growth is apparently too much to ask.

Cole has been among the most uneven footwear marketers and retailers, from a financial standpoint. It generates decent levels of cash flow each year, but growth in sales and bottom-line trends has been lacking in recent years. Sales have grown only 4.9% annually on average over the past five years, having increased only slightly more over the past two- and three-year periods. Net income trends have been worse, having fallen about 2.7% on average each year over the past five, and are only slightly positive over the past couple of years.

Third-quarter results released last Thursday were no exception; sales advanced 5.8% and reported net income fell more than 15%, although excluding a tax benefit in last year's third quarter leads to still-paltry earnings growth of a couple of percent. Management did provide full-year guidance exceeding analysts' projections, but that didn't stop the stock from sliding Friday after the earnings results.

In its favor, Kenneth Cole has a decent dividend yield. That's a rarity in the fashion footwear realm, save for Buckle (NYSE: BKE  ) and its 2.1% yield, Steve Madden's (Nasdaq: SHOO  ) recently announced one-time special dividend, or Stride Rite's (NYSE: SRR  ) 1.6% current yield. The two primary shoe retailers also have modest yields; Foot Locker (NYSE: FL  ) pays 1.6%, while Finish Line (Nasdaq: FINL  ) pays a more paltry 0.8%.

I wouldn't count on Kenneth Cole for growth in your portfolio, but if you're looking for some income along with exposure to the footwear and apparel industry, the company could be a fit for you.

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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann has no financial interest in any company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.


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