VF released its earnings and held the quarterly conference call yesterday at 8:30 Eastern time. I’m not quite dedicated enough to listen to it at 5:30 AM on the West coast, but I did listen to the replay later in the morning. You can see the press release here. Remember, we don’t have the SEC filing on the quarter yet, so though the numbers are the same as what you’ll see in the 10Q, we do get management’s spin on things- their “happy dance,” as I like to call it.
- They have 779 retail stores (retail comps were up about 3% for the quarter) and are on track to open 85 stores for the year. Direct to consumer revenue was up 10% for the quarter (18% in outdoor and action sports).
- Marketing spending is up 35% for the quarter. Year to date they’ve spend an additional $50 million and expect to spend an incremental $45 million in the fourth quarter. Half of this will go to the North Face and Vans.
- They are “…adding top freeride and slopestyle skiers, and halfpipe snowboarders to our athlete team to extend the reach of The North Face(R) as a snowsports brand during the upcoming winter X Games.”
- In the fourth quarter and going forward into next year, they expect gross margins to be “stable.” That is, not up though in another context they note it is improving in retail.
- They expect that their average wholesale price will be up next year. There was a lot of discussion about the cost of cotton.
Dance around the 800 pound gorillas. Not with them.