How Express Is Dragging Its Feet With Earnings and Guidance

Express Inc. (NYSE: EXPR) reported its fiscal first-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Wednesday. The company said it had $0.25 in earnings per share (EPS) on $502.9 million in revenue. Consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters called for $0.27 in EPS on revenue of $521.10 million. In the same period of the previous year, the retailer posted EPS of $0.22 and $502.38 million in revenue.

Comparable sales for the quarter, including e-commerce sales, decreased by 3%. At the same time, e-commerce sales declined 1% to a total of $77 million.

In terms of guidance for the second quarter, the company expects to have negative mid-single-digit comparable sales and EPS in the range of $0.15 to $0.19. The consensus estimates call for $0.29 in EPS on $552.36 million in revenue for the current quarter.

During the first quarter, $41.5 million was used to repurchase roughly 2.5 million shares of the outstanding common stock.

David Kornberg, the president and CEO of Express, commented:

In the first quarter, we delivered increased merchandise margin, expansion in gross margin, and higher diluted earnings per share in line with our guidance through the disciplined execution of our strategy. We believe that our product is on trend and we are providing customers with engaging experiences across each of our channels. That being said, our second quarter and full year guidance reflect the challenges presented by the current retail environment. Looking ahead we remain focused on our key initiatives: delivering great fashion; acquiring new customers; optimizing inventory; implementing systems; and maintaining our balanced financial architecture. We believe these initiatives will position Express to move beyond current challenges and deliver increased sales, strengthen profitability, and enhance value for all Express stakeholders.

On the books, Express had cash and cash equivalents of $111 million at the end of the quarter, compared to $127.7 million in the same period from last year.

Shares of Express were trading down 14.6% at $13.69 on Wednesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $22.97 and a 52-week trading range of $13.25 to $21.57.