Warnaco raises 2010 outlook after first quarter EPS beat

By Alexandria Sage

SAN FRANCISCO, May 10 (Reuters) - Underwear and jeans maker Warnaco Group Inc (WRC.N) on Monday 10 May reported higher first-quarter earnings and raised its fiscal 2010 profit and revenue outlook, helped by sales growth and higher gross margins.

Warnaco
www.Warnaco.com

Net income for the maker of Calvin Klein underwear, Speedo swimsuits and Olga bras, rose to $47.98 million, or $1.02 per share, in its fiscal first quarter, from $37.57 million, or 81 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis Warnaco earned $1.09 a share from continuing operations, above the $1.06 expected, on average, by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue increased 9 percent to $588.2 million, helped by double-digit growth in Warnaco's Calvin Klein businesses.

The impact of foreign currency exchange rates boosted revenue by about $28 million and operating profit by about $7 million, the company said.

"It was a very solid quarter. Guidance was extremely positive and the Calvin Klein brand continues to hit on all cylinders..." said Brean Murray Carret analyst Eric Beder.

Chief Executive Joe Gromek told analysts that the Calvin Klein brand could continue to grow organically, through global expansion and through acquisitions of licenses and franchisees.

Revenue from Warnaco's intimates category rose 12 percent, while sportswear revenue rose 14 percent. Revenues in swimwear, a smaller category, fell 8 percent.

Executives said the Calvin Klein underwear brand should post double-digit revenue growth this year and was on track to achieve an eventual goal of $1 billion in sales.

The U.S. mass market channel represents a growth area for bras, the company said, citing the strength of the recent launch of Warnaco's "This is not a bra" underwire bra.

Gross margins rose to 45 percent of net revenues from 42 percent in the year-ago quarter, helped by robust sales of Calvin Klein-branded products, an expanded distribution for the Chaps brand and new product launches in intimate apparel.

The company bought 1.5 million of its common shares during the quarter.

Warnaco now expects fiscal 2010 adjusted earnings from continuing operations of $3.30 to $3.40 per share, up from an earlier range of $3.10 to $3.20.

It sees revenue rising between 8 percent and 10 percent, from an earlier range of 5 percent to 7 percent.

Shares closed up 8.4 percent at $44.86 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Shares are up 128.5 percent from January 2009, but down 13.7 percent from a high of $51.96 last month in the same time frame. (Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Leslie Gevirtz and Carol Bishopric)

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