May 30, 2019 / 1:08 AM / 4 months ago

PVH cuts profit forecast as CEO sees retail softness, shares tank

(Reuters) - PVH Corp cut its annual profit forecast by 10 cents a share on Wednesday as the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands owner grapples with tariffs and slowing retail growth, exacerbated by weak spending from overseas shoppers in the face of a strong U.S. dollar, sending its shares down 12% after hours.

FILE PHOTO: Boards with Calvin Klein store logo are seen on a shopping center at the outlet village Belaya Dacha outside Moscow, Russia, April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

Escalating trade tensions between China and the United States have emerged as a new headache for U.S. retailers, with a clutch warning that additional tariffs would thin their earnings and margins.

“Looking ahead, the volatile and challenging macroeconomic backdrop has continued into the second quarter, with particular softness across the U.S. and China retail landscape,” Chief Executive Emanuel Chirico said in a statement.

Tariffs on Chinese imports are a concern, as PVH sources a majority of its apparel, footwear and accessories from the Asian country. In 2018, the company imported about $400 million of inventory from China.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump escalated the trade war by raising tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%. This was in addition to the 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports already in place.

Chirico, in an interview on CNBC, said the latest discussions on tariff and trade issues, which includes proposed tariffs on a further $300 billion worth Chinese imports, was not his main concern.

“That (tariffs) is not the issue going forward... What we’re seeing is a slowdown in growth and a slowdown in retail sales,” he told CNBC, highlighting a slowdown in international tourism in the United States and a strong dollar.

“We’ve really seen some softness in the business,” he said.

PVH projected a 10 cent cut in its full-year adjusted profit per share due to the strong dollar. It now expects 2019 adjusted profit between $10.20 and $10.30 per share, which includes the impact of the latest round of tariffs. Wall Street was expecting $10.42 per share, on average.

“Of course the CEO’s comment is making investors nervous. And he didn’t really mince words, beyond avoiding the tariff subject,” Paula Rosenblum, co-founder of retail research firm RSR Research said.

PVH’s first-quarter revenue rose 1.8% to $2.36 billion, but fell short of analysts’ estimate of $2.37 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Excluding items, the company earned $2.46 per share, a cent above the average estimate.

Investors will likely hear more comments from Chirico on the analysts call on Thursday.

“We expect the focus for the conference call will be on the cadence of earnings in the remainder of the year,” Bernstein analyst Jamie Merriman said.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Bill Rigby

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