Fossil Earnings Call NUGGETS: SKAGEN State of Inventory and Distributors, Same Store Sales Comp

On Tuesday, Fossil, Inc. (NASDAQ:FOSL) reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

SKAGEN State of Inventory and Distributors

Barbara Wyckoff – CLSA: Mike, can you talk about the preliminary signings in the state of the inventory and distributors for SKAGEN?

A Closer Look: Fossil Inc Earnings Cheat Sheet>>

Mike L. Kovar – EVP, CFO and Treasurer: The state of the inventory and the distributors for SKAGEN?

Barbara Wyckoff – CLSA: Yes.

Mike L. Kovar – EVP, CFO and Treasurer: As you know, Barbara, we have been obviously in contact with our third-party distributors and are working out plans to effectively transition that business, so we can take over hopefully in advance of the fourth quarter and obviously bring those sales into our business. Right now our expectations are that for most of those third-party distributors, we would just buyout their existing inventory to reflect a clean transition into the business and not have to worry about any activities of them dumping inventory into those markets.

Kosta N. Kartsotis – Chairman and CEO: As distributors the amount of inventory that they were carrying was really not that much anyway.

Barbara Wyckoff – CLSA: Also then can you about the performance of the new elevated leather bags in your own stores? Are they distributed to all of your stores? Is this sort of the way the bags are going to start looking and be priced going forward? I mean I think they do look terrific.

Kosta N. Kartsotis – Chairman and CEO: Yes, as you know, we’ve been increasing quality, details, et cetera, on some of our upper end bags and had a very good response to it globally. In fact, we’ve seen those types of product sell internationally very well and we had higher units per store sales in France, for example, in that category than anywhere else in the world. So, we have I think a very good opportunity there. Having said that, we also recognize we had an opportunity I think in FOSSIL to go back into some of the lower price points and what we saw I thought was very good response at the high end, but we felt we have an opportunity to be more inclusive on price on some categories, in leather goods and even watches, at a more opening price, especially with the economy being what it is, and I think that’s one of the I think opportunities we’re going to have going forward back half of this year and next year. I think there is an opportunity for us to be more inclusive while we still get that aspirational customer.

Same Store Sales Comp

Oliver Chen – Citigroup: Regarding North America, the number there looked pretty impressive ex-SKAGEN at high teens. On a multi-stock basis it’s still relatively challenging comparison in the back half. What’s happening there? Are the inventories pretty clean? What do you think about the state of inventories and business trends in North America wholesale especially given the mixed consumer environment?

Kosta N. Kartsotis – Chairman and CEO: I think when we look at – looking at inventories and of course we stay really in close touch with that information, everything looks good. As the watches continue to be a strong category in the U.S., KORS are still very, very strong. We are seeing growth in a number of other brands also. The stores are continuing to give more space in inventory and presence in the stores you will see that on an ongoing basis through this year and next also as the – you get more capital remodel stores, et cetera. So the category itself continues to be very strong. Of course this is all high value innovating merchandise as opposed to regular price. So we are very encouraged by the U.S. consumer even though the economy is not great, still responding strongly to the category.

Oliver Chen – Citigroup: Regarding the same store sales comp, what should we think about regarding the run rate, the comparison is still double digit in the back half, the number that you posted this quarter, could you help us understand the break out between traffic versus ticket?

Mike L. Kovar – EVP, CFO and Treasurer: Well I think like everyone else we are being impacted negatively by traffic in all environments that’s internationally and in the U.S. In terms of our outlook, Oliver, for the balance of the year, we expect to see comps at kind of the same level that we performed at in Q2 although to Kosta’s point we think there is some opportunity in the leather category in the fourth quarter as we introduce some new assortments toward the end of Q3, and we think that from a regional standpoint, you’re going to see the comps perform again kind of consistently — too early we’re in Q2 – with Europe being a drag, Asia continuing to report solid double-digit growth, and the U.S. kind of low to mid single.

Oliver Chen – Citigroup: Final question, r4elated to the – it looks like the street has to rebalance third quarter versus fourth quarter, why were those days so sensitive in terms of this shift in fourth quarter, could you just illuminate that a little bit more?

Mike L. Kovar – EVP, CFO and Treasurer: Well, a lot of our holiday assortments are shipped out beginning kind of the second part of September, and as we’re losing a couple of days in terms of shipping days in September, we are going to see a shift to some of that business into Q4 this year. I would also say that if you look at the estimates that were out there for Q3, on an implied earnings basis, the Q3 was levered – the Q3 earnings estimates implied greater leverage than Q4 and that on a sales basis is less than $250 million than Q4 is expected to be. So I think there were just maybe some disconnect there in terms of the expected leverage.