Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. said Tuesday that its fiscal fourth-quarter net income more than tripled as the company opened new stores and demand grew for its luxury clothing and accessories.
The results beat Wall Street expectations and the company also issued better-than-expected predictions for the current quarter and year, sending its shares up 14 percent in premarket trading.
Michael Kors sells its handbags, shoes and clothes at its own shops and through other retailers. One of its crocodile handbags can run more than $2,000 and a halter dress more than $7,000, but the bulk of its business is centered on somewhat more affordable luxuries such as $300 sunglasses and $600 purses.
The company's outlook appeared to relieve investors. The luxury consumer has recovered from the recession better than other shoppers, but a warning last month from jeweler Tiffany & Co. has raised concerns that wealthy U.S. shoppers may be cutting back on purchases.
While Michael Kors is headquartered in Hong Kong, one of several high-end companies to go public there last year as the middle class grows in Asia, the designer himself is American and the bulk of the company's sales come from North America.
For the three months through March 31, Michael Kors said it earned $43.6 million, or 22 cents per share, up from $13.6 million, or 10 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.
Excluding a $2 million gain related to the company's December initial public stock offering, Michael Kors said it posted an adjusted profit of 21 cents per share. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 16 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.
Revenue rose 58 percent to $380 million from $240 million, as revenue from stores open at least a year increased 36 percent. The metric is a key measure of a retailer's health, because it excludes sales at stores that opened or closed during the year. The company has opened 71 stores this year, bringing its store count to 237. That helped drive retail sales up 80 percent to $172.2 million.
The company's sales to department stores and other retailers also rose 46 percent, to $190.7 million. Michael Kors also makes money from licensed products including watches and glasses.
Licensing partners operate another 64 stores.
For the current quarter ending in June, Michael Kors said it expects to post a fiscal first-quarter profit of 18 cents to 20 cents per share on $360 million to $370 million in revenue. Analysts expect profit of 17 cents per share on $328.1 million in revenue.
For the year ending in March 2013, the company projected a profit of $1.08 to $1.12 per share on revenue of between $1.7 billion and $1.8 billion. Analysts expect profit of 98 cents per share on $1.69 billion in revenue.
That's a big increase from fiscal 2012, when Michael Kors earned $126.1 million, or 78 cents per share, after paying preferred dividends, up from $56.9 million, or 40 cents per share, the year before. Revenue rose to $1.3 billion from $803.3 million.
Michael Kors shares jumped $5.46 to $43.64 before the opening bell Tuesday. Shares sold at $20 in the December IPO. They are off 21 percent over the past three months as worries about a weakening of the global economy have weighed on markets.