If you check our Fool by Numbers, you'll see that the company bested analysts' earnings expectations for the quarter, with earnings per share increasing 11.5% and sales up by 11.6%. Although gross margins improved, operating margins dipped, which the company attributed to investments in its brands as well as "other actions supporting future revenue and earnings growth."
VF's brands are the thing, and it has a lot of strong ones. It's the name behind Lee and Wrangler jeans. It also distributes North Face, Vans, Nautica, and intimate apparel lines like Vanity Fair and Lily of France. These are just a few of the brands in its portfolio.
In addition to distributing its brands through retailers (Wal-Mart
The successful quarter led VF to increase its fourth-quarter guidance -- it now expects earnings up 11% and revenues up 8%.
The retail universe can be uncertain, and most of the well-known retailers are already heavily followed, so sometimes it might make more sense to dig for value in the lesser-known companies that supply many retailers with name-brand apparel -- companies like VF, Volcom
There's plenty to like about VF, particularly its dividend, which was one of the reasons it was recommended to Motley Fool Income Investor subscribers last summer. But it may not be a bargain at these levels. It may be a tried-and-true performer, but it still expects low double-digit earnings growth on average over the next few years. Therefore, the fact that VF trades at 14 times forward earnings gives reason to pause right now. On the other hand, it's certainly an interesting stock for investors to keep an eye on.
For more on VF Corp., check out the following Foolish articles:
- Take a hard look at VF Corp's third quarter with Fool by Numbers.
- VF's not your everyday apparel company.
- Has this company got dominance in denim?