Movado Sales Slip in Q1 Amid Inflation Woes, Tough Comps

FinancialsMay 26, 2023

Movado Sales Slip in Q1 Amid Inflation Woes, Tough Comps

The company has plans to revamp the Movado brand and offer less expensive watches this year.

Models wearing Calvin Klein watches and jewelry
A campaign image from last year’s spring/summer Calvin Klein watch and jewelry collection, a licensed brand in Movado’s portfolio. The company posted an 11 percent net sales decline year-over-year in the first quarter.
Paramus, N.J.—Movado Group had a rough start to its fiscal year 2024 with first-quarter sales down double digits.

The New Jersey-based company said it faced a “challenging macro environment” and tough comparables after a record first quarter last year.

“Despite this backdrop, our teams continued to execute against our strategic priorities to maximize the power of our brands with exceptional innovation,” said CEO Efraim Grinberg in a statement.

Here are five takeaways from Movado’s recent earnings report.

First-quarter sales were down but still better than expected.

In the first quarter ending April 30, net sales fell 11 percent year-over-year to $144.9 million, which the company attributed to declines in wholesale to its customers’ physical stores, online retail, and its own stores.

The sales came in just ahead of Movado’s prior guidance of a 12 to 15 percent sales decline.

Gross profit was $82 million, or 57 percent of net sales, compared with $96.7 million, or 59 percent of net sales in the previous first quarter.

The decline in gross margin was due to “unfavorable changes in channel and product mix” and the impact of foreign currency exchange rates, said Movado, which was partially offset by reduced shipping costs.

Grinberg noted its outlet business saw a 4 percent decline in Q1 amid a “highly promotional U.S. environment.”

Inflation and rising interest rates have impacted sales.

“As we had expected, the macroeconomic environment remained challenging during the beginning of the year with inflation and rising interest rates continuing to affect purchases made by consumers of discretionary products in our key markets, the U.S. and Europe,” Grinberg said on an earnings call Thursday.

In the U.S., Movado’s quarterly sales were down 16 percent year-over-year.

Internationally, net sales were down 8 percent in the first quarter.

The company noted strong growth in Brazil, the Middle East, and China, as well as in travel retail, which somewhat offset its decline in Europe.

“As retailers in key markets deal with slowing economic growth, they are very focused on making sure they control their inventories. From a brand perspective, we are laying the foundation for an improving second half,” said Grinberg.

Grinberg noted consumers have pulled back on discretionary purchases as the basics become more expensive.

 Related stories will be right here … 

The Movado brand is getting a refresh.

Movado will be revamping the image of its eponymous watch brand.

“Throughout the year, we will invest in refreshing the Movado brand image in a bolder and more impactful way and we are excited to make this investment behind our most important brand,” said Grinberg, adding it will begin in the second half of the fiscal year.

Its Mother’s Day marketing produced positive results, he said, particularly its TV ads. For Father’s Day, it has both TV and digital ads in the works.

Movado said its “Bold” collection is performing well, as is the newly added “Bold Horizon” watches, which Grinberg said are filling previously vacated price points.

It starts at $695 and has elicited a “good response” from consumers.

Its elevated and more expensive automatic models have also been doing well, especially through wholesale and on Movado’s website.

There’s newness for its licensed brands, including some less expensive watches.

Movado’s brand portfolio includes its eponymous brand as well as in-house and licensed brands, like Coach and Tommy Hilfiger.

“We’re reintroducing some opening price points, particularly in our licensed brand portfolio as consumers become stressed in other areas,” said Grinberg. “And we've seen some very good initial responses to some of the things that we've brought to the market quickly.”

Tommy Hilfiger is offering lower opening price points via its “Pippa” and “Norris” models.

Hugo Boss is following suit via the sporty “Trophy” collection and the “Gregor” collection, with both opening at $279.

The brand is partnering with English actress Suki Waterhouse in the fall for its jewelry and watch campaign.

For Coach, the “signature C” style watches are performing well, with Movado noting renewed demand for the brand in China amid the country’s reopening after COVID-19 restrictions.

Lacoste has a new interpretation of its “L.12.12” polo shirt as a watch, offering an aluminum version in new colors.

The brand will also introduce watches inspired by three Netflix series, “Stranger Things,” “Sex Education,” and “Lupin.”

The Calvin Klein brand, launched under Movado last year, also has been doing well, particularly the newly introduced “CK Sensation” watch and the all-black “Ambitious” watch.

Movado sees the “difficult consumer environment” continuing.

“As we look ahead, we continue to believe we will face a difficult consumer environment in the U.S. and Europe, our two largest regions,” said Grinberg.

“However, we believe we are well positioned to capture the opportunities in the marketplace and will continue to execute with discipline,” he said.

Grinberg highlighted his excitement about the company’s product innovation and “refreshed” marketing.

“We will do all this while controlling costs and leveraging the strength of our balance sheet with $198 million in cash and no debt as of quarter end.”

Movado maintained its prior guidance, expecting full-year net sales to be in the range of $725 million to $750 million.

Gross profit is forecast to be 56 percent of net sales while operating income may be in the range of $80 million to $85 million.

In the first half of the fiscal year, Movado expects sales to decline 9 to 12 percent year-over-year, noting its record first-half results in the previous year.

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