Oxford’s E-commerce Gains Can’t Offset Losses in Q4, Year

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Jean E. Palmieri
·4 min read
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The pandemic took a bite out of Oxford Industries last year, but there were some bright spots, notably e-commerce, with full-price sales online increasing in excess of 25 percent in both the fourth quarter and year.

On Thursday afternoon, the Atlanta-based owner of the Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer and Southern Tide brands reported a net loss of $12.2 million, or 74 cents a share, for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, compared to earnings of $15.3 million, or 90 cents a share, in the same period last year. Adjusted earnings were 13 cents a share compared to $1.09 a share in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. Net sales fell to $221 million, compared to $298 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020.

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The adjusted results in the quarter exclude a $15 million asset write-off related to an information technology project, and $3 million of charges related to the exit of Lanier Apparel.

Thomas C. Chubb 3rd, chairman and chief executive officer, said: “This time last year, we were facing incredible uncertainties related to the pandemic, its duration and its effect on our business. In response we established three priorities for fiscal 2020: protect our people and our customers, protect our brands and preserve liquidity. We were successful in achieving these important and fundamental goals.”

As the year progressed, Chubb said, the business “gained momentum,” thanks in part to its “omnichannel capabilities. It is clear that e-commerce will be bigger and more important than ever following the accelerated shift to online spending during the pandemic. The strength of our e-commerce platforms and our digital outreach to consumers led to a 28 percent increase in our full-price e-commerce businesses in fiscal 2020. We added to these capabilities in 2020 and expanding our expertise and investment in digital will remain a priority in 2021 and beyond.”

Chubb said although its stores and restaurants were forced to close due to the pandemic, the company continues to be bullish on brick-and-mortar. “Despite the significant impact of temporary store closures and operating restrictions in 2020, we are confident that our retail strategy is going to serve us well as conditions normalize,” he said. “Our 187 full-price retail stores are in desirable locations, where shopping is still entertainment. We believe food and beverage is an important complement to our beautiful stores and will continue to play a larger role in our retail evolution.”

Last year, the company opened four more Tommy Bahama Marlin Bars, a less formal restaurant concept, and this will continue to be a focus going forward, he added.

“Each of our brands — Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, Southern Tide, The Beaufort Bonnet Company and Duck Head, simply put, make people happy. Our talented, highly engaged teams will continue to evolve and update our products and brand messaging to ensure they stay relevant for today’s consumer and remain true to each brand’s unique DNA. This has been and will continue to be the key to our success as we deliver long-term value to our shareholders.”

For the year, the company reported a net loss of $95.7 million, or $5.77 a share on a GAAP basis, from earnings of $68.5 million, or $4.05 a share, in fiscal 2019. On an adjusted basis, the company reported a loss of $1.81 a share compared to earnings of $4.32 a share in fiscal 2019. Net sales were $749 million compared to $1.1 billion in fiscal 2019.

The full year adjusted results exclude a $60 million Southern Tide impairment charge, the $15 million technology project write-off and $13 million of charges related to the exit of Lanier Apparel, partially offset by a $9 million favorable impact of LIFO [last in, first out] accounting.

Looking ahead, for the full fiscal 2021 year, Oxford projected that sales would increase to between $940 million and $980 million. Earnings per share are expected to be between $2.65 and $3.05. Adjusted EPS is expected to be between $2.80 and $3.20.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2021, ending May 1, the company expects net sales in a range of $220 million to $240 million, as compared to $160 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. In the period, GAAP EPS is expected to be between 90 cents and $1.10. Adjusted EPS is expected to be between 95 cents and $1.15.

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