What happened

Shares of Guess (NYSE:GES) have popped today, up by 11% as of 12:40 p.m. EST, after the company reported third-quarter earnings last night. The results topped expectations even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on the retail sector.

So what

Revenue in the fiscal third quarter declined by 8% to $569.3 million, topping the consensus estimate of $515.6 million in sales. That was a meaningful improvement compared with the declines that the apparel maker suffered throughout the first half of the year. That resulted in adjusted earnings per share of $0.58, well above the $0.05 per share in adjusted profits that Wall Street analysts were modeling for. Guess had to close approximately 5% of its stores near the end of the quarter due to government lockdowns.

A sign on a door saying, "Closed due to COVID-19"

Image source: Getty Images.

"We are very pleased with our third quarter performance, which significantly exceeded our expectations, in spite of the challenging circumstances we faced due to the pandemic," CEO Carlos Alberini said in a statement. "I am extremely proud of our teams around the world, which continue to excel in a difficult environment, demonstrating a relentless commitment to our customers and our Company, tremendous agility and exceptional execution."

Now what

Due to the ongoing macroeconomic uncertainties related to the pandemic, Guess declined to provide specific financial guidance. The company merely offered some vague commentary, expecting revenue in the fiscal fourth quarter to be "down in the low to mid-twenties" percentages due to store closures and product development changes.

However, investors were pleased that Guess declared a quarterly dividend of $0.1125 per share, the second dividend declaration after it temporarily deferred the payout in the fiscal first quarter.

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