Despite the market’s indifference to companies with less than rosy news right now, revelations that KMD Brands (ASX: KMD) earnings for the full year ending July 31 are set to come in lower than the previous period, the share price was surprisingly up 2% at the open.
Despite a record performance witnessed by its Kathmandu brand during the key winter period, overall retail trade in Australasia has been impacted by the omicron outbreak.
Total FY22 sales for the mid-cap retailer are expected to be in the range of NZ$955m to NZ$965m, higher than the NZ$922.8m it recorded for FY21, due to strong retail and wholesale trading in Rip Curl and production improvements at Oboz.
However, underlying FY22 earnings (EBITDA) are expected to come in between NZ$88m to NZ$94m and underlying earning (EBIT) to range from NZ$53m to NZ$59m.
Both are lower than FY21 results of $113.3m in EBITDA and EBIT of $83.8m.
But despite the significant covid impacts on retail, same store sales in Rip Curl and Kathmandu brands were up 2.1% and 7.3% respectively.
As previously communicated, the year-on-year impact of covid on first half earnings (EBITDA) was around $35m.
While trading conditions improved in the second half, management notes covid’s impact on footfall, particularly in the third quarter, caused sporadic store closures due to staff availability.
Adding to covid, CEO Michael Daly flagged early in 2022 rising input cost issues, especially in raw materials to make wetsuits, and surging freight costs.
Having decided to accelerate orders to meet forward wholesale orders and expected retail demand – especially in light of ongoing supply chain disruption - inventory levels are forecast to be above 2021.
Heavily impacted by covid lockdowns, sales of $407m came in slightly behind first half FY21.
Due to elevated international freight costs, and increased clearance mix for the Kathmandu brand, gross margins experienced a 130-basis points headwind at 57.7%.
But management notes forward demand for Rip Curl and Oboz products remains at record levels and continues to perform well.
While the third quarter was impacted by the ongoing covid outbreak, fourth quarter profitability is expected to be above pre-covid levels, assuming there are no new government restrictions.
“The group continues to target our long-term objective of 0.5x net debt to underlying EBITDA,” noted Daly.
“KMD is well positioned for growth as travel rebounds globally, and covid impacts on consumer behaviour and international supply chains ease.”
Get the latest news and media direct to your inbox