Lifestyle and performance footwear company Skechers (NYSE:SKX) will report its fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 earnings on Feb. 6 after the close. Analysts are expecting fourth-quarter earnings per share of $0.39 on revenue of $1.25 billion.
Last quarter's earnings report was positive, but investors expected more than the in-line guidance that was given. Shares of the shoe distributor are down 13% year-to-date and flat over the last three months.
Here are three key updates to focus on for Skechers' upcoming earnings report.
1) International strength
For the last two quarters, Skechers reported strong international sales. During the second and third quarters, international sales jumped by 19.8% and 21.9%, respectively. Research group Argus Global commented that global demand has been robust through October and November, and raised its recommendation to buy in December.
Skechers' international segment continues to be an important growth driver. COO David Weinberg commented during the company's earnings call, "With strength across every region, we believe the momentum we are seeing in our business worldwide will continue in the fourth quarter and into 2020."
Skechers' international business segment grew 21.9% in the third quarter of 2019, which was a record 59% of sales. Spain, Germany, Turkey, China, and Russia experienced strong growth.
The company expects this strength to continue, and it's one of the areas to monitor during the earnings report. Schuhkurier in Germany named Skechers Best Brand of the Year. China was cited as the biggest growth driver, with a 21% revenue increase (on a constant currency basis).
However, risk around continued growth in China increased from the new coronavirus-related effects on the economy in China. Economists cited the potential cost to China's economy from the virus could be as large as $62 billion this quarter. The Trump administration announced travel restrictions for people entering the U.S. from China. Still, the longer-term impact is uncertain.
2) Skechers' focus on comfortable, well-priced footwear and expanding its audience
The Skechers brand has become synonymous with comfort. It's the top brand in the U.S. for work shoes and women's casual lifestyle shoes.
Consumers also view the brand as offering good value. CEO Robert Greenberg said of Skechers' product offering: "Our product offering is vast and reaches every demographic, and at its core, comfort is what consumers have come to know and expect from Skechers." It will be interesting to get an update on new product introductions and marketing campaigns.
The footwear company has grown sales successfully by its strong focus on women and children, and quality products. The brand won Children's Brand of the Year at the 2019 Footwear Industry Awards.
Although Skechers hasn't resonated as strongly with a younger audience in the past, the company has made strides in reaching this demographic through marketing and product efforts.
The lifestyle brand recruited singer Camila Cabello as a spokesperson in 2018, who has a large Gen-Z and teen fan base. Singers Demi Lovato and Christina Aguilera are also past spokespersons.
In terms of products, the company's DLITE sneaker fits with recent trends favoring chunky sneakers. According to the YouGov BrandIndex, a measure of brand health, Skechers placed fourth in 2019 top index rankings for the U.S. apparel and footwear category, coming in ahead of Nike (ranked 5th place ).
3) Global store openings are driving growth
The company has rapidly expanded its store base over the last few years. This is helping drive the company's sales growth. At the end of the third quarter in 2019, Skechers had 3,307 stores globally, up from 2,570 stores as of year-end 2017. The company continues to view store expansion as a strategy, in conjunction with extensive marketing campaigns.
COO David Weinberg elaborated: "To support our global business, television, outdoor, digital and print campaigns drove consumers to stores where Skechers are available. This included the underground in the UK and France, perimeter boards and sporting events in Canada and Mexico; music and dance festivals in the Netherlands and China; and in-store events in support of kids day across South America."
Overall, Skechers has had a string of solid quarters, driven by an impressive product offering and global expansion. The upcoming earnings report will let investors know if the company is still on this positive trajectory, and whether it's still a good investment.