Consumer brands company VF
Fourth-quarter net income increased an impressive 51% to $164.4 million, or $1.46 per share. (The EPS figure included a $0.02 benefit from one-time items.) Revenue increased 22% to $1.96 billion. The company pointed out the revenue gain was driven by 12% organic growth and 10% growth in 2007 acquisitions such as Seven for All Mankind and lucy activewear. So far, so good, on the 7FAM acquisition -- VF said 7FAM experienced double-digit revenue growth, ahead of its initial expectations.
Just like last quarter, VF's international exposure gave it an extra boost. International revenue increased 30% in the quarter, a diversification that helps VF better insulate itself against a slowdown here in the U.S. VF also stood by its guidance for 2008, expecting 9% revenue growth and earnings per share growing by 10%.
I finally broke down and put an "outperform" on VF in Motley Fool CAPS last November (very shortly after I marveled at the fact that it had bucked the trend, and started mulling whether it might be a good value). It has a great group of brands, and the fact that it was able to buck the trend last quarter made me begin to believe that perhaps many investors were underestimating its growth. Meanwhile, it produces strong cash from operations and even pays a dividend.
And while I have recently said rival Liz Claiborne
Many retail and consumer names are stuck near 52-week lows lately -- a few off the top of my head are baby boomer retailers like Chico's
When it comes to VF, though, there's an even better argument: Things appear to be going very well for it, even with a tough consumer climate here in the States. And that's nothing short of impressive.