Guess Earnings Call NUGGETS: Key Country Trends in Europe, Traffic Strategy in North America

On Wednesday, Guess, Inc. (NYSE:GES) reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Key Country Trends in Europe

Erinn Murphy – Piper Jaffray & Co.: Paul, I was hoping you could maybe talk a little bit more about your comments on Europe just being a little bit more stable. If you could maybe just help us understand some of the key country trends, maybe specifically you talked about Italy and France being still weak but maybe focus on Spain and just come of the other markets there? Then perhaps just share your perspective on both spring and summer bookings in those key markets, how are they trending right now and how – and can you just remind us how at this time last year the spring, summer bookings were?

A Closer Look: Guess Earnings Cheat Sheet>>

Paul Marciano – CEO, Vice Chairman and Creative Director: I think what’s happening in Europe, it’s a positive in one hand and negative in another is many accessories. In Europe, the accessory is especially bad and footwear has been doing well, in fact, better than what we expected and it’s the opposite here on the sense that we feel that the line became too I would say too mono line and very clean, very, very I mean elegant and we have a base of bags that always had included a good portion of fashion. So, the result is what we see now and I think that Europe accessories total has been really been doing well compared to U.S., and now if you go to the stores right now, you will see a change of the line and continue to change even more at the end of September, beginning of October for holiday, that’s one. What was your other part of your question?

J. Michael Prince – COO: She had asked some color on some of the country performance and I can help you with that. With the exception of Italy and France and you heard Paul say on the prepared remarks that everything else was up 8%. If I exclude those on a year-to-date basis, the rest of the countries are up 6%. We had strong double-digit growth in Spain, which has been a really good market for us. We have opened stores there and those stores are among the most profitable stores that we have in the chain in Europe. As we said Germany has been growing. Russia grew. The Netherlands grew. U.K.; we saw growth in there. So, the business has been performing as we had expected. The fall winter orders came in as we expected. We’re not fully through spring summer, but we’re expecting to see an un-easing of the headwinds, and so far about three quarters of the way into the shipments, we are seeing the headwinds lighten on the spring summer ’13 orders. So, again, the headline for us on Europe is it’s performing at or even slightly better than we had expected thus far this year.

Traffic Strategy in North America

Shreya Jawalkar – Jefferies: This is (Shreya Jawalkar) filling in for Randy. So, just wondering about your strategy to improve traffic in North America; so we had expected the higher marketing spend that you have budgeted for this year to help bring that metric up. So, can you just remind us when the higher marketing campaign kicked in, where you think it’s falling short given the weaker traffic trends, and also what kind of changes you’re expecting to make (here deal) with the traffic?

Dennis R. Secor – SVP and CFO: We really just got start with the marketing in North American Retail in Q2. The big campaign we did was centered around the 30th anniversary and that took place in May which is when we had clearly the best traffic of the entire quarter. So, it’s really going to be ramped up in Q3 and Q4. We’ve got a denim authority campaign going on our stores. We’ve got our affiliations with Tiesto and Elin Kling that we’re going to be bringing to life and you’ll see that in the windows and we’re going to also have a lot more in-store events. And (mailers) is something we’re going to push a lot more in the back half of the year than we did in Q2 for both fall and for holiday.

Paul Marciano – CEO, Vice Chairman and Creative Director: And also to add that, definitely, because our presence is so strong in Europe during the years that when the euro was very strong, we had a huge disproportionate numbers of customers coming from Europe to shop in our stores in tourist location, what we call tourist location is really New York, Florida and California and Las Vegas. We saw through credit comps reform that the European have been really in the last two months declining a lot compared to the year before and year before. For two reason, obviously one is weaker euro but also because their own problems in Italy and in France. So clearly that was – but you combine that with the line of accessory who has been not exactly complete as we wish it would have been complete that gives you the slow topic we have experienced and we are definitely focusing on that and we are definitely seeing some change even in the last two weeks.