The retailer's second-quarter net income decreased 12% to $18.1 million, or $0.28 per share. Net sales increased 10% to $336.2 million, while same-store sales slipped 0.4%. Gross margin fell to 41% of revenues from 43.7% of revenues this time last year.
J. Crew missed analysts' profit expectations by $0.04 per share, and also gave a less-than-stellar outlook for the year. It now expects earnings of $1.44 per share $1.54 per share in 2008, versus previous guidance for $1.70 per share to $1.75 per share.
The economy has presented difficulties for many specialty retailers. (Then again, a few, like Urban Outfitters
It's interesting that J. Crew's recent tech glitches were cited as part of its problem. When one thinks of glitches, one might think of the rare occasions when Internet behemoths like Netflix
J. Crew may have apologized via email, but it sounds like it was a doozy: Use of the word "upgrade" and "disruption" in the same sentence in the conference call is definitely pause-worthy. CEO Mickey Drexler admitted that while the transition to its new systems and related snafus are temporary challenges, this is still "impacting our ability to capture, process, ship, and service customer orders." Ouch.
The glitches forced J. Crew to throttle back their usual efforts such as email campaigns, shipping events, and so forth, but management said in the conference call that it was necessary in order to avoid angering more customers.
J. Crew was traditionally not one of my favorite retail stock ideas; the stock often seemed too expensive and I wasn't convinced it had true competitive advantage. However, in June, I started coming around to the idea that maybe the stock's recent price made it more compelling (it's fallen 48% in a year). I guess I was a bit early. Still, temporary problems can make once expensive stocks into bargains, and so it's prime time for investors to consider whether J. Crew now presents a bargain for the long haul.