Shares of Guess? Inc. (GES -0.48%) fell 12.1% in September, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, as investors' excitement for the clothing retailer's mixed fiscal second-quarter 2017 report began to wane.
Recall that shares of Guess? skyrocketed nearly 24% the day after that report on Aug. 25. In it, Guess? conceded that quarterly revenue had fallen slightly from the same year-ago period, to $545 million -- below expectations for revenue to grow between 0.5% and 2.5% -- as 7% revenue growth in its European segment (to $213.5 million) more than offset declines in every other region including 3% at Americas Retail, to $226.6 million, 8% in Americas Wholesale, to $29.7 million, and a 6% drop in Asia, to $53.2 million. Licensing revenue also fell 13% year over year, to $22 million.
But that also resulted in adjusted net income of $12 million, or $0.14 per share, which was well above Guess?'s guidance for earnings per share of $0.04 to $0.08. In addition, Guess? increased its full-year earnings outlook.
Even so, I noted at the time that I wasn't eager to buy Guess? stock in the wake of its pop. I also admitted it was "tempting to be disappointed by Guess?'s relative underperformance on the top line" -- a stance that was reinforced when management revealed during the subsequent conference call that revenue growth in China was below expectations, albeit primarily as the company continued to transition the market to a more direct operating model.
To his credit, Guess? CEO Victor Herrero also insisted that the company has made "very good progress" on its strategic initiatives as part of a three-year plan unveiled earlier this year. As a reminder, those initiatives include elevating the quality of Guess?'s sales and merchandising organization, building out infrastructure as part of a major push into Asia, reinforcing a "strong culture of purpose and accountability," improving the company's cost structure through global cost reductions, and revitalizing its wholesale business.
In the end, however, I was still unconvinced that the gravity of Guess?'s initial earnings pop was merited, given its technically mixed results. So it's not particularly surprising that the stock has virtually given up those gains in the weeks following that quarterly report. For now, until Guess? can show it truly is firing on all cylinders, I'm content continuing to watch its progress from the sidelines.