Shares of Kate Spade & Co. (NYSE: KATE) jumped 28.9% in the month of February, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, after the fashion and apparel company announced it's evaluating "strategic alternatives."
To be fair, Kate Spade also detailed its fourth-quarter results in the Feb. 16, 2017 press release. Revenue rose 9.8%, to $471 million, while adjusted net income per share climbed 28.1%, to $0.41, with the latter aided by Kate Spade's relentless focus on expense management. The company's performance was mixed relative to expectations; analysts' consensus estimates predicted lower adjusted earnings of $0.35 per share on higher revenue of $472.8 million.
But without a doubt the most intriguing part of Kate Spade's announcement was that it has enlisted a financial advisory firm to help it review "strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value."
Kate Spade CEO Craig Leavitt added:
Our solid fourth quarter and fiscal year performance demonstrate the strength of our differentiated business model, as we continued to gain market share and deliver strong growth despite a challenging retail environment. In 2016, we further strengthened our handbag portfolio, introduced new categories to our casual ready-to-wear classifications, and thoughtfully expanded our global store base, opening 52 net new owned and partner-operated stores. At the same time, we remain committed to maximizing value and are exploring strategic alternatives that are in the best interests of our Company and shareholders.
With shares of Kate Spade now trading only slightly above where they stood at this time last year, investors are rightly excited for the prospect of either an acquisition or a comprehensive plan for Kate Spade to improve its performance and generate greater shareholder value over the long term.
We should also keep in mind, however, that there are no guarantees the strategic review process will result in any action. So in the absence of any updates on that process since the company announced its start nearly a month ago, investors should continue to focus primarily on the fundamentals driving Kate Spade's business forward in today's increasingly competitive retail environment.