Michael Kors Holdings Ltd Earnings Call Insights: Outlook Details and Local Markets in Europe

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE:KORS) recently reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Outlook Details

Kimberly Greenberger – Morgan Stanley: Congratulations on a great fourth quarter and a really terrific year. John, I am wondering if you can talk about your outlook here and if there is any comment you can share with us on what you are seeing so far here in the first quarter. On the last several conference calls, you have also talked about anticipating a sort of normalization of markdowns, either in the wholesale channel or in the retail channel. I was wondering if you could just share with us what you are seeing there as well.

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John D. Idol – Chairman and CEO: Sure. Well, I think Joe talked about our outlook for the first quarter. So, obviously, that means that we’re encouraged by our sales results to-date and we see continued momentum in the business. So we don’t see anything that’s indicating any differentiation with how the customer is responding to the business, North America, Europe, Japan or in Asia. So we feel very confident about our first quarter and the balance of our spring selling, both from a product standpoint and from a sell-through standpoint. In terms of the normalization, I think we’ve always said to you that our sell-throughs are really extraordinary. You can even see by our inventories this quarter, as good as we are about chasing inventory, we just still couldn’t even chase it fast enough given the strong sell-throughs that we had at retail. So, normalization will come. We don’t know when that will come, but it will, and until then, as we’ve said before, as the consumer is responding to the product, as the demand is there, we’re going to do everything we can to fill her desire and hopefully his desire as we go forward as well and continue to deliver that exciting jet-set experience that Michael Kors has been capable of doing for over 30 years now.


Local Markets in Europe

Erinn Murphy – Piper Jaffray: Thank you, and let me add my congratulations. John, I was hoping you could spend a little bit more time on Europe, (have been) extremely strong in the quarter. If you could just maybe speak to how you’re seeing both the tourist versus the local demand, how that’s evolved over the years that you’ve been in Europe now? Where is brand awareness, if you can give us an update there today? Then as we think about going into these 40 new retail stores that’s here in Europe, are there any new markets you’ll be entering into? Then, I guess, just last as it relates to Europe; again, longer-term, as you are kind of accelerating the longer-term target, how should we think about the gross margin component in Europe? A lot of time in these global markets, we do see higher gross margin generated outside of the U.S. I’m curious if that’s something you would see as a longer-term driver in your business as well…

John D. Idol – Chairman and CEO: I think that was four questions in one, but let me see if I can get all of that. The first answer is that in Europe, our — biggest piece of our business is still the local market. It’s the consumers who live in France, who live in Italy, who live in Spain et cetera and clearly they are responding to our product. So, we’re one of few companies that probably gets on a call today, and so as we’re excited about our business in Spain, we’re excited about our business in Italy, we’re excited about our business In Greece, all three of those markets continue to do well for us, and obviously the primary, the bigger, the more healthy markets being the U.K. and Germany and France to a degree are all performing equally as well for us. So, we’re not seeing any issues on a market-by-market basis for the brand and for the Company. Secondly, in terms of brand awareness, we did the study once a year, so the new study is not going to be out until the latter part of the summer, so I don’t think we’ll have it for our next conference call, probably would be after that, but in Europe we’re running at about 44% brand awareness in total. That’s not correct. I am sorry the brand awareness in Europe is 36% which I think we reported previously, so we don’t know what the results are in terms of had it increase or not until we have that study. The question – I am sorry I forgot to answer about the tourists. The tourists market is really extraordinary for us, certainly in major cities, in Paris, in London, in locations like that, in Barcelona and in those markets as we’ve told you before, we think we really are doing an extraordinary job. In many of these stores, we speak as many as 10 languages with our sales force and we think that we are well-equipped to capitalize on that tourist traffic and what’s very interesting for us is how we’re seeing customers. I think I’ve talked about this in the past, you know we opened up in Poland, as an example in Warsaw and the amount of customers coming in from Eastern Europe to visit the city and who know the brand Michael Kors are coming in and asking for Hamilton or Selma that they’re finding, quite frankly, online is really extraordinary for us. So we see that as a continued opportunity. Then, of course, we talked about airports, there are many outstanding airports in Europe to capitalize on the tourist traffic with Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle and Schiphol in Amsterdam and we’re opening Michael Kors stores and in certain case the shop-in-shops inside of those locations. Lastly, in terms of the gross margin, I think we’ve said before that we do think that there is an opportunity long-term for the Company’s gross margins in total to expand, let’s says as retail becomes a greater part of our overall mix and as Europe in particular and ultimately Japan come on, those businesses will generate higher gross margins than our current weighted average.

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Erinn Murphy – Piper Jaffray: Joe, could I just add just a quick clarification question on the fourth quarter? On the licensing segment, the EBIT margins were a little bit more modest than I think some of us had anticipated. Could you just help us think about if that’s a seasonality or kind of what was going on there in the fourth quarter?

Joseph B. Parsons – EVP, CFO, COO and Treasurer: Sure. Remember that our advertising costs are charged to the licensing segment. So that will be timing of the advertising.

A Closer Look: Michael Kors Holdings Earnings Cheat Sheet>>