Elizabeth Arden Results, Forecasts Well Below Estimates

MIRAMAR, United States — Elizabeth Arden Inc on Thursday turned in much weaker results and forecasts than expected, as an unnamed retailer ordered less than planned and the beauty products company struggled to make over its namesake brand.

Adjusted earnings in the fiscal fourth quarter were less than one-third of analysts’ target, ending what Arden Chief Executive E. Scott Beattie called a “transitional year.”

The company’s forecasts for the current quarter and full year also suggested profits will continue to disappoint Wall Street. Its shares fell 9 percent to $36.65 in premarket trading after closing at $40.29 on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Arden has been working to overhaul its namesake cosmetics brand for months and is cutting jobs and getting out of unprofitable businesses. Its results and forecasts showed the plan is taking longer than the company anticipated.

“We expect the stock to be weak on the open and likely not recover until signs of stabilization become more apparent over the next few months,” said SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Bill Chappell, who has a “neutral” rating on the shares.

Sales rose 0.8 percent to $267.6 million while analysts looked for sales of $289.8 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Elizabeth Arden said an unnamed North American mass retailer ordered less than it had anticipated, especially in June, the end of its quarter. It saw weak sales in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom.

While the company did not identify the retailer, analysts said it was Wal-Mart Stores Inc <WMT.N>. The world’s largest retailer is Elizabeth Arden’s biggest customer, accounting for about 13 percent of its total sales.

Weakness from the retailer, both in sales performance and orders, as well as overly optimistic projections for the Elizabeth Arden brand were the two main reasons annual results came in below expectations, Beattie said in a statement.

FOREIGN CURRENCY HIT

The company, which sells a variety of beauty products and celebrity fragrances, lost $5 million, or 17 cents per share, in the fiscal fourth quarter ended June 30, compared with a profit of $3.6 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings per share, excluding items such as costs related to its brand repositioning, fell to 10 cents from 28 cents.

Sales should rise 3 percent to 5 percent in the fiscal year ending next June, including a hit of about 1 percentage point from foreign currency, it said.

The company forecast earnings per share of $2.15 to $2.30, including a hit of about 19 cents from foreign currency translation. Analysts had expected earnings of $2.85 per share.

For the current first quarter ending in September, it forecast sales flat to down 1 percent, with adjusted earnings per share of 13 cents to 18 cents. Analysts expected 50 cents per share this quarter.

The company expects to spend $11 million to $16 million for the Elizabeth Arden repositioning this year, including about $7.5 million in the first quarter. It also forecast about $5 million in restructuring and severance charges, with $3.5 million in the first quarter.

By: Jessica Wohl in Chicago; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe