Movado Group, Inc (MOV), Tiffany & Co. (TIF): Luxury-Watch Maker Displays Survivor Skills

When the Movado Group, Inc (NYSE:MOV) released its fiscal fourth quarter earnings results in recent days, the numbers indicated that the company, known for the iconic dot on its time pieces, had a strong quarter.

Movado Group, Inc (MOV)

Still, investors seemed unimpressed, as the stock closed lower than where it was priced before earnings were released. The reason behind the lackadaisical reaction is not unique to Movado.

Other luxury retailers, including Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) and Coach, Inc. (NYSE:COH), are also failing to impress investors and it’s because of the guidance they are issuing.

While I understand the concern over guidance, I think that it is misplaced when it comes to luxury brands. This is especially the case with Movado, which not only posted strong earnings numbers but also outlined a strategic plan to further improve growth.

Before I get into the details about the guidance issues, I want to point out some of the positives from Movado Group, Inc (NYSE:MOV)’s last earnings report. Net sales, gross profits and net income were all higher compared with the fourth quarter of 2012, which suggests  that the company took the necessary steps to improve its financial position.

Movado’s fiscal 2013 net sales were $505 million compared to $468 million in fiscal 2012. The increase was largely driven by growth in its accessible luxury and licensed brand categories, noted company president, Richard Cote, during the earnings conference call.

Gross profit was roughly $278 million, which represents 55% of total sales. That compares to $256.3 million in last year’s gross profit, which amounted to approximately 55% of sales last year.

Movado Group, Inc (NYSE:MOV)’s net cash position, which was $168 million at year-end, is also noteworthy. This was accomplished even after the company returned $37 million, or $1.45 per share, to shareholders to pay special and regular quarterly dividends.

As for the luxury-jewelry retailer’s future profit expectations failing to impress investors, I beg to differ. Movado’s guidance is based on a multi-year strategic plan that will carry it through fiscal 2017. For the next four years, Movado hopes the plan will lead to sales growth of at least 10%. That should lead to an operating profit of at least 20% each year.

One of the things Cote pointed out during the conference call was that fiscal 2013 marked the company’s third-consecutive year of strong sales and profit growth since it began to recuperate from the recession in 2009. The same can be said of other luxury brands. In fact, Movado Group, Inc (NYSE:MOV) is just one of many luxury brands that are expected post stronger earnings than non-luxury brands this year.