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LOS ANGELES — A highly promotional retail environment cut into VF Corp.’s earnings during the fourth quarter, though its action sports brands continue to fare well.
The company reported on Tuesday that its fourth quarter earnings fell nearly 30 percent to $115.9 million or $1.05 per diluted share, from $164.4 million or $1.46 a share a year ago.
Sales during the quarter declined 2 percent to $1.91 billion, compared to $1.95 billion during the same quarter of 2007.
Stephen Murray, president of the company’s newly formed Action Sports Americas Coalition, which includes the Vans and Reef brands, said demand remains strong. “I’m pleased to say that the action sports side was a bright spot for VF throughout 2008,” he said during a conference call with investors and analysts. “For Vans, which is by far the largest of our two action sports brands, we enjoyed an extremely positive year. Domestic sales were up by 13 percent.... Footwear sales finished the year 11 percent up.”
For the full year, the company reported a 6 percent increase in revenue to $7.64 billion, up from $7.22 billion the prior year. Earning for the year amounted to $602.7 million or $5.42, up from $591.6 or $5.36 a share.
For his part, VF chairman and CEO Eric Wiseman acknowledged the challenges ahead for the company, but reassured investors that the company was well positioned to weather the coming year. “No one can predict what the coming months will bring, but I have confidence in our continued ability to navigate through the challenges inherent in such uncertain times,” he said.
The company said it anticipates 2009 earnings of $5.42 a share, with a revenue decline of 3 to 4 percent.