VF Corp., the world's largest jeans maker, said Tuesday that fourth-quarter earnings increased 19 percent on solid sales growth in the company's core businesses, with acquisitions of the Vans, Napapijri and Kipling brands adding $100 million to sales in the quarter.
VF Corp. shares rose $2.81, or 5.1 percent, to $57.86 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Net income grew to $125.3 million, or $1.10 per share, from $105.6 million, or 96 cents per share, a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were looking for the company to post earnings of 95 cents per share on sales of $1.50 billion in the latest quarter.
Sales rose 12 percent to $1.56 billion from $1.39 billion last year. Total jeanswear sales, which include the Lee, Wrangler, Riders, Rustler, H.I.S, Maverick and Old Axe brands, were up 3 percent to $669 million from $648 million in last year's fourth quarter.
Domestic jeans sales were about even with prior-year levels, while international jeans sales rose 17 percent.
The company said combined sales of its outdoor businesses, which include the North Face, Vans, JanSport, Eastpak, Napapijri and Kipling brands, jumped 87 percent in the quarter to $276 million from $148 million. Intimate Apparel business grew sales by 4 percent to $185 million from $178 million, with growth across private brands, mass channel and international businesses.
Gross margins increased by more than three percentage points to 40.8 percent from 37.4 percent last year, driven by the acquisition of higher margin businesses, lower overall sourcing costs and improved sales of full-price products.
Looking ahead, VF Corp. is forecasting first-quarter earnings growth of 8 percent on sales growth of about 6 percent to 8 percent. For the full year, earnings are projected to grow at least 8 percent, with sales expected to rise 6 percent to 8 percent.
Specifically, the company is forecasting low- to mid-single-digit growth in each business except Outdoor, where sales growth could exceed 25 percent.