Fashion retailer Aritzia shares climb as earnings rise, beats expectations

VANCOUVER — Shares in Aritzia Inc. jumped 17 per cent Thursday to a record close after the company’s latest financial results topped expectations and it signalled continued expansion ahead.

The Vancouver-based fashion retailer said its net revenue grew 10 per cent in the quarter compared with a year ago, while comparable store sales, a key metric for retailers, rose 5.1 per cent.

“We ended the third quarter with a strong November and our best Black Friday event to date,” company CEO Brian Hill told a conference call with financial analysts.

Shares closed up $3.48, or 17 per cent, at $24.01 after trading as high as $24.36 in the day.

The climb came after the company reported strong growth in the U.S., especially in its e-commerce division, while it also continued to open more stores.

Aritzia has also been expanding its product lines, including its Ten by Babaton evening wear line, and with a men’s version of its puffy winter coat after noticing a lot of men wearing their women’s puffy coats last year, Hill said.

He said the company could further expand into men’s outerwear, but that it was too early to say if they’d go further into men’s clothing as that would change the dynamics of their stores.

Hill said the company would also look to increase its size offerings, up to size 18 from the current limit of 12, with a pilot in its Babaton line.

“There has been a push into more inclusivity, obviously, throughout society and certainly in the fashion business, and that’s not lost on us,” he said.

“We’re not sure it’s going to make a meaningful impact to our sales, but we think it’s the right thing to do for our customers.”

In its outlook, the retailer says it expects comparable sales growth in the fourth quarter to be in the high single digits as strong sales momentum from the second half of the third quarter continued through the holiday season.

Aritzia said it earned $34.8 million in its third quarter, up from $32.6 million a year earlier. It said net revenue totalled $267.3 million in the quarter ended Dec. 1 compared with $242.9 million in the same quarter last year.

On an adjusted basis, Aritzia says its profit amounted to 32 cents per diluted share for what was the third quarter of its 2020 financial year, up from an adjusted profit of 31 cents per diluted share a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 30 cents per share for the quarter, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Shares in Aritzia were up $1.96, or 9.6 per cent, at $22.49 in mid-afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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