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Holiday Was Naughty and Nice for These Three Footwear Firms

Ahead of their participation in the 22nd annual ICR conference, Crocs, Genesco and Stage Stores updated their fourth-quarter projections and sales data, with results ranging from company-best to stock disasters.

The shoe company that made its name on ugly-but-comfy clogs, for one, reported “the strongest fourth quarter in Crocs history” on Monday, elevated by new projections that have the brand’s range of revenue between $260 million and $262 million instead of the $245 million to $255 million previously anticipated. Crocs estimates year-over-year revenue growth of 13 percent for fiscal 2019.

“Our positive brand momentum allowed us to deliver strong DTC growth combined with excellent wholesale sell-through,” Andrew Rees, president and CEO of Crocs, said in a statement. “Our projected fourth-quarter results represent a strong finish to a record year and we anticipate building on our 2019 growth trajectory in 2020.”

That confidence extended to the brand’s revenue projection for fiscal 2020, which is now expected to fall in the range of 12 percent to 14 percent growth.

Genesco, the parent company behind Journeys and its equivalent in the U.K., Schuh, updated its own projections on Monday, saying it now expects to hit the midpoint of its previous guidance range of $4.10 to $4.40.

But the group’s January update was not without its downsides. same-store sales are down 1 percent so far in the fourth quarter, Genesco said.

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Despite this roadblock, Genesco recorded a 3 percent increase in comparable sales at Journeys and a 2 percent increase in the same for Schuh, likely buoyed by healthy 21 percent growth in e-commerce channels. Although faced with a 2 percent loss at Johnston and Murphy, Genesco’s adult footwear retail division, the group scored a comparable sales increase of 2 percent.

“Overall, we enjoyed a solid holiday selling season, with sales results at the higher end of our expectations,” Robert J. Dennis, president and CEO of Genesco, said in a statement. “Journeys once again led the way, and we were pleased that Schuh delivered better than expected results. January is off to a good start as we look to deliver our 11th consecutive quarter of positive comparable sales for our footwear businesses.

“Although the start of the month was strong, we expect that to moderate through the course of the month,” Dennis added.

Unfortunately for Stage Stores, however, there was no salvaging a bad quarter ahead of its presentation at Monday’s ICR Conference. A few hours after the retailer released its updated projections for the fourth quarter, a selloff wiped out more than half of its stock value. After starting the day at $7.30 per share, Stage shares closed at just $3.15. As of press time, shares ticked up modestly to $3.35.

“While our positive comparable sales for the holidays did not meet expectations, we remain confident that our off-price strategy will lead to profitable growth in the future,” Michael Glazer, president and CEO of Stage Stores, said.

Comparable sales came in at 1.4 percent for the retailer but that wasn’t the part of the release that worried investors. Lower pre-conversion sales, incremental promotional efforts and “a warmer holiday season” dampened the quarter’s sale, Glazer said. Stage, which sold more than $46 million in footwear over the three months ending on Nov. 2, expects a $25 million to $30 million impact on its full-year guidance for fiscal 2019.

Brushing off the loss, Glazer pointed to January success as a reason to be optimistic for the retailer after a hard quarter. Comparable sales were up double-digits in the first week, he said.