SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549FORM 10-K
☒ Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the Fiscal Year Ended February 1, 2020
☐ Transition Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the transition period from to
Commission File Number 1-11893GUESS?, INC. (Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)
1444 South Alameda Street
(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes x No ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes x No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No x
As of the close of business on August 3, 2019, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, the aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $756,018,701 based upon the closing price of $16.44 on the New York Stock Exchange composite tape on such date. For this computation, the registrant has excluded the market value of all shares of its common stock reported as beneficially owned by executive officers and directors of the registrant. Such exclusion shall not be deemed to constitute an admission that any such person is an “affiliate” of the registrant.
As of the close of business on March 27, 2020, the registrant had 66,069,055 shares of common stock outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the proxy statement for the registrant’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III herein.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
IMPORTANT FACTORS REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K, including documents incorporated by reference herein, contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may also be contained in our other reports filed under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, in our press releases and in other documents. In addition, from time-to-time, we, through our management, may make oral forward-looking statements. These statements relate to expectations, analyses and other information based on current plans, forecasts of future results and estimates of amounts not yet determinable. These statements also relate to our goals, future prospects, global cost reduction opportunities and profitability efforts, capital allocation plans, cash needs and current business strategies and strategic initiatives. These forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “create,” “estimate,” “expect,” “goal,” “intend,” “may,” “outlook,” “pending,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “see,” “should,” “strategy,” “will,” “would,” and other similar terms and phrases, including references to assumptions.
Although we believe that the expectations reflected in any of our forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results could differ materially from those projected or assumed. These forward-looking statements may include, among other things, statements or assumptions relating to: our expected results of operations; the accuracy of data relating to, and anticipated levels of, future inventory and gross margins; anticipated cash requirements and sources; our convertible senior notes issued in April 2019, including our ability to settle the liability in cash; the length and severity of epidemics or pandemics, such as the coronavirus (or “COVID-19”) pandemic, or other catastrophic events, and the related impact on both customer demand and supply chain functions, as well as our future consolidated financial position, results of operations and cash flows; risk of future non-cash asset impairment charges, including goodwill, operating right-of-use assets and/or store asset impairment charges; cost containment efforts; estimated charges; plans regarding store openings, closings, remodels and lease negotiations; effects of doing business outside of the United States, including, without limitations, exchange rate fluctuations, inflation, changes to import duties, tariffs and quotas, political and economic instability and terrorism; effects of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union; plans to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Company’s European distribution centers; plans regarding business growth, international expansion and capital allocation; plans regarding supply chain efficiencies and global planning and allocation; e-commerce, digital and omni-channel initiatives; business seasonality; results and risks of current and future legal proceedings; industry trends; consumer demands and preferences; competition; currency fluctuations and related impacts; estimated tax rates, including the impact of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Tax Reform”) and other similar tax reforms in foreign jurisdictions, future clarifications and legislative amendments thereto, as well as our ability to accurately interpret and predict its impact on our cash flows and financial condition; results of tax audits and other regulatory proceedings; the impact of recent accounting pronouncements; raw material and other inflationary cost pressures; consumer confidence; and general economic conditions. We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update our forward-looking statements to reflect future events or circumstances. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in these statements. Important factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include those discussed under “Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors” contained herein.
ITEM 1. Business.
Unless the context indicates otherwise, the terms “we,” “us,” “our” or the “Company” in this Form 10-K refer to Guess?, Inc. (“GUESS?”) and its subsidiaries on a consolidated basis.
We design, market, distribute and license one of the world’s leading lifestyle collections of contemporary apparel and accessories for men, women and children that reflect the American lifestyle and European fashion sensibilities. Our apparel is marketed under numerous trademarks including GUESS, GUESS?, GUESS U.S.A., GUESS Jeans, GUESS? and Triangle Design, MARCIANO, Question Mark and Triangle Design, a stylized G and a stylized M, GUESS Kids, Baby GUESS, YES, G by GUESS (GbG), GUESS by MARCIANO and Gc. The lines include full collections of clothing, including jeans, pants, skirts, dresses, shorts, blouses, shirts, jackets, knitwear and intimate apparel. In addition, we selectively grant licenses to design, manufacture and distribute a broad range of products that complement our apparel lines, including eyewear, watches, handbags, footwear, kids’ and infants’ apparel and footwear, outerwear, fragrance, jewelry and other fashion accessories. We also grant licenses to certain wholesale partners to operate and sell our products through licensed retail stores.
Our products are sold through direct-to-consumer, wholesale and licensing distribution channels. Our core customers are style-conscious consumers comprised of three target consumer groups: Heritage, Millennials and Generation Z. Our Heritage customers, typically aged 40 years and older, are very loyal and have been shopping with us for years. We appeal to these customers through GUESS and specialty product lines that include MARCIANO, a more sophisticated fashion line targeted to women and men. Our Millennial customers are typically between the ages of 25 to 39 and Generation Z customers are typically between the ages of 10 to 24 years old. These two target consumer groups shop streetwear and vintage inspired trends, viewing GUESS as accessible luxury.
We were founded in 1981 and currently operate as a Delaware corporation.
We operate on a 52/53-week fiscal year calendar, which ends on the Saturday nearest to January 31 of each year. All references herein to “fiscal 2020,” “fiscal 2019,” and “fiscal 2018” represent the results of the 52-week fiscal years ended February 1, 2020 and February 2, 2019 and the 53-week fiscal year ended February 3, 2018. The additional week in fiscal 2018 occurred during the fourth quarter ended February 3, 2018. References to “fiscal 2021” represent the 52-week fiscal year ending January 30, 2021.
We believe we have several business strengths that set us apart from our competition, including:
Brand Equity. The GUESS? brand is an integral part of our business, a significant strategic asset and a primary source of sustainable competitive advantage. The GUESS? brand communicates a distinctive image that is fun, fashionable and sexy. We have developed and maintained this image worldwide through our consistent emphasis on innovative and distinctive product designs and through our award-winning advertising, under the creative leadership and vision of Paul Marciano, our Chief Creative Officer and Director. Brand loyalty, name awareness, perceived quality, strong brand images, public relations, publicity, promotional events and trademarks all contribute to the reputation and integrity of the GUESS? brand.
Global Diversification. The global success of the GUESS? brand has reduced our reliance on any particular geographic region. This geographic diversification provides broad opportunities for long-term growth, even during regional economic slowdowns. The percentage of our revenue generated from outside of the U.S. has grown from approximately 32% of our total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2005 to approximately 72% of our total revenues for the year ended February 1, 2020. As of February 1, 2020, the Company directly operated 1,169 retail stores in the Americas, Europe and Asia. The Company’s partners operated 560 additional retail stores worldwide. As of February 1, 2020, the Company and its partners operated in approximately 100 countries worldwide. We continue to evaluate the different businesses in our global portfolio, directing capital investments to those with more profit potential.
Multiple Distribution Channels. We use direct-to-consumer, wholesale and licensing distribution channels to sell our products globally. This allows us to maintain a critical balance as our operating results do not depend solely on the performance of any single channel. The use of multiple channels also allows us to adapt quickly to changes in the distribution environment in any particular region.
Direct-to-Consumer. Our direct-to-consumer network is omni-channel, made up of both directly operated brick-and-mortar retail stores and concessions as well as integrated e-commerce sites that create a seamless shopping experience for our customers.
Directly operated retail stores and concessions. Distribution through our directly operated retail stores and concessions allows us to influence the merchandising and presentation of our products, enhance our brand image, build brand equity and test new product design concepts. Our store locations vary country by country depending on the type of locations available. In general, our stores average approximately 5,000 square feet in the Americas, approximately 3,000 square feet in Europe and the Middle East and approximately 2,000 square feet in Asia and the Pacific. Concessions generally average 1,000 square feet and are located primarily in South Korea and Greater China. As part of our omni-channel initiative, retail store sales in certain regions may be fulfilled from one of our numerous retail store locations or from our distribution centers.
Our directly operated retail stores and concessions as of February 1, 2020, February 2, 2019 and February 3, 2018 were comprised as follows:
Feb 1, 2020
Feb 2, 2019
Feb 3, 2018
Central and South America
Europe and the Middle East
Asia and the Pacific
e-Commerce. As of February 1, 2020, we operated retail websites in the Americas, Europe and Asia. We have e-commerce available to 55 countries and in ten languages around the world. Our websites act as virtual storefronts that both sell our products and promote our brands. Designed as customer shopping centers, these sites showcase our products in an easy-to-navigate format, allowing customers to see and purchase our collections of apparel and accessories. These virtual stores have not only expanded our direct-to-consumer distribution channel, but they have also improved customer relations and are fun and entertaining alternative-shopping environments. As part of our omni-channel initiative, e-commerce orders in certain regions may be fulfilled from our distribution centers, or from our retail stores, or both.
Wholesale Distribution. We sell through both domestic and international wholesale distribution channels as well as retail stores and concessions operated by certain wholesale partners.
Wholesale. In Europe, our products are sold in stores ranging from large, well-known department stores like El Corte Inglès, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps to small upscale multi-brand boutiques. Because our European wholesale business is more fragmented, we generally rely on a large number of smaller regional distributors and agents to distribute our products. In the Americas, our wholesale customers consist primarily of better department stores, including Macy’s, Liverpool and Hudson’s Bay, and select specialty retailers and upscale boutiques, which have the image and merchandising expertise that we require for the effective presentation of our products. Through our foreign subsidiaries and our network of international distributors, our products are also available in major cities throughout Africa, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.
Licensed stores and concessions. We also sell product to certain wholesale customers who operate licensed retail stores and concessions which allows us to expand our international operations with a lower level of capital investment while still closely monitoring store designs and merchandise programs in order to protect the integrity of the GUESS? brand.
Licensed retail stores and concessions operated by our wholesale partners as of February 1, 2020, February 2, 2019 and February 3, 2018 were comprised as follows:
Feb 1, 2020
Feb 2, 2019
Feb 3, 2018
Central and South America
Europe and the Middle East
Asia and the Pacific
Licensing Operations. The desirability of the GUESS? brand name among consumers has allowed us to selectively expand our product offerings and global markets through trademark licensing arrangements, with minimal capital investment or on-going operating expenses. We currently have various domestic and international licenses that include eyewear, watches, handbags, footwear, kids’ and infants’ apparel and footwear, outerwear, fragrance, jewelry and other fashion accessories; and include licenses for the design, manufacture and distribution of GUESS? branded products in markets which include Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, Central America, North America and South America.
Multiple Store Concepts. Our products are sold around the world primarily through six different store concepts, namely our GUESS? full-price retail stores, our GUESS? factory outlet stores, our GUESS? Accessories stores, our G by Guess (GbG) stores, our MARCIANO stores and our GUESS? Kids stores. We and our partners also have a small number of underwear, Gc watch and footwear concept stores. This allows us to target the various demographics in each region through dedicated store concepts that market each brand or concept specifically to the desired customer population. Having multiple store concepts also allows us to target our newer brands and concepts in different markets than our flagship GUESS? store concept.
The Company’s businesses are grouped into five reportable segments for management and internal financial reporting purposes: Americas Retail, Americas Wholesale, Europe, Asia and Licensing. The Americas Retail segment includes the Company’s retail and e-commerce operations in the Americas. The Americas Wholesale segment includes the Company’s wholesale operations in the Americas. The Europe segment includes the Company’s retail, e-commerce and wholesale operations in Europe and the Middle East. The Asia segment includes the Company’s retail, e-commerce and wholesale operations in Asia and the Pacific. The Licensing segment includes the worldwide licensing operations of the Company. See “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 18 – Segment Information” in this Form 10-K for disclosures about our segment financial information.
Americas Retail Segment
In our Americas Retail segment, we sell our products direct-to-consumer through a network of directly operated retail and factory outlet stores and e-commerce sites in the Americas.
Retail stores and concessions. Our Americas Retail stores and concessions are comprised of a mix of GUESS? factory outlet stores, full-priced GUESS? retail stores, G by GUESS (GbG) stores, GUESS? Accessories stores and MARCIANO stores. For the year ended February 1, 2020, we opened 16 new stores and closed 27 stores in the Americas, ending the year with 433 stores. This store count does not include 27 concessions in Mexico. We directly operated our retail stores and concessions in Mexico and Brazil through our majority-owned joint ventures.
e-Commerce. Our Americas Retail segment also includes our directly operated retail and other marketplace websites in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Brazil. These websites operate as virtual storefronts that, combined with our retail stores, provide a seamless shopping experience to the consumer to sell our products and promote our brands. They also provide fashion information and a mechanism for customer feedback while promoting customer loyalty and enhancing our brand identity through interactive content online and through smartphone applications. Our U.S. and Canadian online sites are fully integrated with our
customer relationship management (“CRM”) system and loyalty programs. Omni-channel initiatives that we have already deployed in the U.S. and Canada include “buy online, pick-up in stores” or “buy online, return in stores” and “order from store” as well as mobile-optimized commerce sites and smartphone applications. In the U.S. and Canada, e-commerce orders may be fulfilled from our distribution centers, or from our retail stores, or both.
Americas Wholesale Segment
In our Americas Wholesale segment, we sell our products through wholesale channels throughout the Americas and to third-party distributors based in Central and South America as well as licensed retail locations operated by our wholesale partners. Our Americas Wholesale business generally experiences stronger performance from July through November. Our Americas Wholesale customers consist primarily of better department stores, select specialty retailers, upscale boutiques as well as select off-price retailers. As of February 1, 2020, our products were sold to consumers through 1,477 major doors in the Americas as well as through our customers’ e-commerce sites. This compares to 1,441 major doors at February 2, 2019. As of February 1, 2020, these locations included 854 shop-in-shops, a designated selling area within a department store that offers a wide array of our products and incorporates GUESS? signage and fixture designs. These shop-in-shops, managed by the department stores, allow us to reinforce the GUESS? brand image with our customers. Many department stores have more than one shop-in-shop, with each one featuring women’s, men’s or kids’ apparel and footwear. We also sell product to licensed retail stores and concessions operated by certain wholesale customers. For the year ended February 1, 2020, our partners opened three new stores, ending the year with 42 licensed retail stores in the Americas. As of February 1, 2020, the total 42 licensed retail stores were comprised of 40 stores in Central and South America and two stores in the U.S. This store count does not include one concession that was operated by one of our partners in the U.S.
Our Americas Wholesale merchandising strategy is to focus on trend-right products supported by key fashion basics. We have sales representatives in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal, Mexico City and Vancouver who coordinate with customers to determine the inventory level and product mix that should be carried in each store. Additionally, we use merchandise coordinators who work with the stores to ensure that our products are displayed appropriately. During fiscal 2020, our two largest wholesale customers accounted for a total of approximately 2.7% of our consolidated net revenue.
In our Europe segment, we sell our products through direct-to-consumer and wholesale channels throughout Europe and the Middle East.
European Direct-to-Consumer. Our European direct-to-consumer network is comprised of brick-and-mortar retail stores and concessions and e-commerce sites.
Retail stores and concessions. Our European retail stores and concessions are primarily comprised of a mix of directly operated GUESS? retail and outlet stores, MARCIANO retail stores, GUESS? Accessories retail and outlet stores, GUESS? Footwear stores and GUESS? Kids stores. For the year ended February 1, 2020, we opened 33 new stores and closed six stores, ending the year with 517 directly operated stores in Europe and the Middle East. This store count does not include 39 directly operated concessions in Europe. Certain of our European stores require initial investments in the form of key money to secure prime store locations. These amounts are paid to landlords or existing lessees in certain circumstances.
e-Commerce. In Europe, similar to the Americas, our e-commerce sites operate as virtual storefronts that, combined with our retail stores, provide a seamless shopping experience to the consumer to sell our products and promote our brands. We are leveraging our existing technology and experience from the Americas to deploy similar omni-channel strategies in certain international markets. We currently offer interactive content online and via mobile, and are planning to expand to smartphone applications and integrate with CRM systems and loyalty programs.
European Wholesale Distribution. We sell our products both through wholesale distribution channels and through licensed retail stores and concessions operated by our wholesale partners throughout Europe and the Middle East. Our European wholesale business generally relies on a large number of smaller regional
distributors and agents to distribute our products primarily to smaller independent multi-brand boutiques. Our products are also sold directly to large, well-known department stores like El Corte Inglès, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Overall, we have over 8,000 customers with one customer representing slightly more than 1% of our consolidated net revenue during fiscal 2020. The type of customer varies from region to region depending on both the prominence of the GUESS? brand in each region and the dominance of a particular type of retail channel in each region. In countries where the brand is well known, we operate through showrooms where agents and distributors can view our line and place orders. We currently have showrooms in key cities such as Barcelona, Düsseldorf, Lugano, Munich, Paris, Lisbon, Moscow and Warsaw. We sell both our apparel and certain accessories products under our GUESS? and MARCIANO brand concepts through our wholesale channel, operating primarily through two seasons, Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Generally, our Spring/Summer sales campaign is from April to September with the related shipments occurring primarily from November to April. The Fall/Winter sales campaign is from November to April with the related shipments occurring primarily from May to October. The Company may take advantage of early-season demand and potential reorders by offering a pre-collection assortment which ships at the beginning of each season. Customers retain the ability to request early shipment of backlog orders, delay shipments or cancel orders depending on their needs. Revenues from sales to our wholesale licensed stores are also recognized as wholesale sales within our European wholesale operations. For the year ended February 1, 2020, our partners opened 24 new licensed retail stores and closed six stores, ending the year with 228 licensed retail stores in Europe and the Middle East.
In our Asia segment, we sell our products through direct-to-consumer and wholesale channels throughout Asia and the Pacific.
Asian Direct-to-Consumer. Our Asian direct-to-consumer network is comprised of brick-and-mortar retail stores and concessions and e-commerce sites.
Retail stores and concessions. Our Asian retail stores and concessions include a mix of directly operated GUESS?, GUESS? Footwear, GUESS? Accessories, GUESS? Kids and MARCIANO stores. For the year ended February 1, 2020, we opened 17 new stores and closed 11 stores. During fiscal 2020, we also transferred 14 directly operated stores to our partners. This related primarily to the sale of our directly operated stores in Australia to our wholesale distributor in the region. We ended the year with 219 directly operated stores in Asia and the Pacific. This store count does not include 117 directly operated apparel and accessory concessions. Concessions are widely used in Asia and generally represent directly managed areas within a department store setting.
e-Commerce. We also have e-commerce sites throughout Asia which operate as virtual storefronts that, combined with our retail stores, provide a seamless shopping experience to the consumer to sell our products and promote our brands.
Asian Wholesale Distribution. Our Asian wholesale customer base is comprised primarily of a small number of selected distributors with which we have contractual distribution arrangements and licensed stores and concessions operated by our wholesale partners. For the year ended February 1, 2020, our partners opened nine new licensed retail stores and closed 42 stores. As noted above, during fiscal 2020, we also transferred 14 directly operated stores to our partners. We ended the year with 290 licensed retail stores. This store count does not include 210 apparel and accessory concessions operated by our partners in Asia.
Our Licensing segment includes the worldwide licensing operations of the Company. The desirability of the GUESS? brand name among consumers has allowed us to selectively expand our product offerings and global markets through trademark licensing arrangements, with minimal capital investment or on-going operating expenses. We currently have various domestic and international licenses that include eyewear, watches, handbags, footwear, kids’ and infants’ apparel and footwear, outerwear, fragrance, jewelry and other fashion accessories; and include licenses for the design, manufacture and distribution of GUESS? branded products in markets which include Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, Central America, North America and South America.
Our trademark license agreements customarily provide for a multi-year initial term generally ranging from three to ten years, and may contain options to renew prior to expiration for an additional multi-year period. The typical license agreement requires that the licensee pay us the greater of a royalty based on a percentage of the licensee’s net sales of licensed products or a guaranteed annual minimum royalty that typically increases over the term of the license agreement. In addition, several of our key license agreements provide for specified, fixed cash rights payments over and above our normal, ongoing royalty payments. Generally, licensees are required to spend a percentage of the net sales of licensed products for advertising and promotion of the licensed products and in many cases, we place the ads on behalf of the licensee and are reimbursed. Additionally, licensees also make contributions to advertising funds, as a percentage of their sales, or may elect to increase their contribution to support specific brand-building initiatives.
In addition, to protect and increase the value of our trademarks, our license agreements include strict quality control and manufacturing standards. Our licensing personnel meet regularly with licensees to ensure consistency with our overall merchandising and design strategies in order to protect the GUESS? trademarks and brand. As part of this process, our licensing department reviews in advance GUESS? third-party licensed products, advertising and promotional materials.
We strategically reposition our existing licensing portfolio by monitoring and evaluating the performance of our licensees worldwide. For instance, between 2005 and 2013, we acquired several of our European apparel licensees. As a result, we now directly manage our adult and children’s apparel businesses in Europe.
We evaluate opportunities for strategic acquisitions and alliances and pursue those that we believe will support and contribute to our overall strategic initiatives and/or will take advantage of economies of scale. Similarly, when existing investments and alliances no longer align with strategic initiatives or as other circumstances warrant, we will evaluate various exit opportunities. We currently have majority-owned joint ventures in Russia, Brazil, Portugal, the Canary Islands, and Mexico. These joint ventures allow us to accelerate expansion, revitalize certain regions, and provide enhanced development of our retail and wholesale channels in these regions.
During fiscal 2020, we sold all of our directly operated stores in Australia to a wholesale distributor in the region. During fiscal 2020, we also sold our directly operated underwear business in South Korea to a local licensee partner.
Apparel products are designed by in-house design teams located in the U.S., Switzerland and South Korea. The U.S. and Switzerland teams collaborate to share ideas for products that can be sold throughout our global markets and are inspired by our GUESS? heritage. Our design teams seek to identify global fashion trends and interpret them for the style-conscious consumer while retaining the distinctive GUESS? image. They travel throughout the world in order to monitor fashion trends and discover new fabrics. These fabrics, together with the trends observed by our designers, serve as the primary source of inspiration for our lines and collections. We also maintain a fashion library consisting of vintage and contemporary garments as another source of creative concepts. In addition, our design teams work closely with members of our sales, merchandising and retail operations teams to further refine our products to meet the particular needs of our markets.
Global Sourcing and Supply Chain
We source products through numerous suppliers, many of whom have established long-term relationships with us. We seek to achieve efficient and timely delivery of our products, combining global and local sourcing. Almost all of our products are acquired as package purchases where we design and source product and the vendor delivers the finished product.
We believe that our balanced global supply chain, with deep vendor partnerships, provides us with a competitive advantage where we have the flexibility to respond to increased demand throughout the world. Our sourcing strategy provides us with the opportunity to leverage costs and improve speed-to-market.
As an ongoing strategic initiative, we leave a larger portion of our buys open prior to each season to improve the efficiency of our speed-to-market by allowing us to design and produce closer to market delivery. This allows us
to better react to emerging fashion trends in the market. We are also working to shorten our lead times through partnering with our suppliers, exercising agility in the production process and continuously searching for new suppliers and sourcing opportunities in reaction to the latest trends. We have developed IT systems to capture and share key performance indicators with our partners to drive ongoing improvements. During fiscal 2020, we significantly reduced our vendor base in the Americas and Europe. We also made continued progress on reducing our dependency on sourcing from China and mitigating potential tariff risk without compromising the quality of our products. Additionally, offering an assortment of global products continues to be an area of focus. As a global brand, we maintain skilled sourcing teams in North America, Europe and Asia.
We are committed to sourcing our products in a responsible manner, respecting both the countries in which we conduct business and the business partners that produce our products. As a part of this commitment, we have implemented a global social compliance program that applies to our business partners. Although local customs vary in different regions of the world, we believe that the issues of business ethics, human rights, health, safety and environmental stewardship transcend geographical boundaries.
To support and ensure our social compliance, we communicate our expectations to our partners throughout our global supply chain and conduct compliance audits. If deficiencies are discovered, personnel in each region are empowered to work with the respective business partner to take a corrective course of action. Additionally, the goal of this process is to educate individuals, build strategic relationships and improve business practices over the long-term.
In addition, we are working with our partners to improve the production processes through education and by pursuing the use of sustainable materials and practices.
Advertising and Marketing
Our advertising, public relations and marketing strategy is designed to promote a consistent high impact image which endures regardless of changing consumer trends. While our advertising promotes products, the primary emphasis is on brand image.
Since our inception, Paul Marciano, our Chief Creative Officer and Director, has had principal responsibility for the GUESS? brand image and creative vision. Under the direction of Mr. Marciano, our Los Angeles-based advertising department is responsible for overseeing all worldwide advertising. Throughout our history, we have maintained a high degree of consistency in our advertisements by using similar themes and images, including our signature black and white print advertisements and iconic logos.
We deploy a variety of media focused on national and international contemporary fashion/beauty, lifestyle and celebrity outlets. In recent years, we have also expanded our efforts into influencer marketing, digital advertising with leading fashion and lifestyle websites and advertising on social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat and global search engines. Our smartphone applications provide a unique mobile media experience by combining fashion, e-commerce, personalized product recommendations, targeted promotions and social loyalty rewards to drive mobile brand engagement.
We also require our licensees and distributors to invest a percentage of their net sales of licensed products and net purchases of GUESS? products in Company-approved advertising, promotion and marketing. By retaining control over our advertising programs, we are able to maintain the integrity of our brands while realizing substantial cost savings compared to outside agencies.
We will continue to regularly assess and implement marketing initiatives that we believe will build brand equity and grow our business by investing in marketing programs to build awareness and drive customer traffic to our stores, websites and smartphone applications. We plan to further strengthen communications with customers through an emphasis on digital marketing, and through our websites, loyalty programs, direct catalog and marketing mailings. We also plan to strengthen communities on various social media platforms, which enable us to provide timely information in an entertaining fashion to consumers about our history, products, special events, promotions and store locations, and allow us to receive and respond directly to customer feedback.
As part of these initiatives, we currently have loyalty programs in North America, Europe and Asia covering all of our brands. Certain of these programs reward our members who earn points for purchases that can be redeemed on future purchases either in our stores or online. In addition to earning rewards with the program, our loyalty members
may receive other benefits including invitations to special VIP events in our stores, double points during their birthday month and access to seasonal savings, depending on their purchasing tier. Our Guess List loyalty program has experienced growth in its overall member engagement numbers through the introduction of experiential rewards and unique member content. In addition to this, we use these programs to promote new products to our customers which in turn increases traffic in the stores and online. We believe that the loyalty programs generate substantial repeat business that might otherwise go to competing brands. We continue to enhance our loyalty program offerings by understanding our members’ interests and needs, and strategically marketing to this large and growing customer base.
Our quality control program is designed to ensure that products meet our high-quality standards. We test the quality of our raw materials prior to production and inspect prototypes of each product before production runs commence. We also perform random in-line quality control checks during and after production before the garments leave the contractor. Final random inspections occur when the garments are received in our distribution centers. We believe that our policy of inspecting our products is important to maintain the quality, consistency and reputation of our products.
We utilize distribution centers at strategically located sites. The Company’s U.S. distribution center is based in Louisville, Kentucky, where we use fully integrated and automated distribution systems. The bar code scanning of merchandise and distribution cartons, together with radio frequency communications, provide timely, controlled, accurate and instantaneous updates to our distribution information systems. Distribution of our products in Canada is handled primarily from Company operated distribution centers in Montreal, Quebec. In Europe, distribution of our products is handled primarily by third-party distributors. During fiscal 2019, the Company transitioned a majority of its European product distribution from Italy to facilities located in Venlo, Netherlands. The Company also utilizes smaller distribution facilities throughout Europe. We utilize several third-party operated distribution warehouses that service the Asia region.
The apparel industry is highly competitive and fragmented and is subject to rapidly changing consumer demands and preferences. We believe that our success depends in large part upon our ability to anticipate, gauge and respond to changing consumer demands and fashion trends in a timely manner and upon the continued appeal to consumers of the GUESS? brand. We compete with numerous apparel retailers, manufacturers and distributors, both domestically and internationally, as well as several well-known designers. Our licensed apparel and accessories also compete with a substantial number of well-known brands. Although the level and nature of competition differs among our product categories and geographic regions, we believe that we differentiate ourselves from our competitors by offering a global lifestyle brand on the basis of our global brand image and wide product assortment comprising both apparel and accessories. We also believe that our geographic diversification, multiple distribution channels and multiple store concepts help to set us apart from our competition.
We believe that high levels of automation and technology are essential to maintain our competitive position and support our strategic objectives and we continue to invest in and update computer hardware, network infrastructure, system applications and cyber security. Our computer information systems consist of a full range of financial, distribution, merchandising, point-of-sales, customer relationship management, supply chain, digital platform, enterprise resource planning and other systems. During fiscal 2020, key initiatives included digital platform improvement and stabilization, beginning the migration of our home-grown e-commerce platform to Salesforce Commerce Cloud, continued development of mobile-based initiatives to support both our wholesale and direct-to-consumer businesses, various customer-focused initiatives and continued enhancements of our product life cycle management and supply chain tracking system to facilitate vendor and freight forwarder collaboration and increase the efficiency of the supply chain. In addition, we continue to enhance our systems to align our IT standards globally, accommodate future growth and provide operational efficiencies.
We own numerous trademarks, including GUESS, GUESS?, GUESS U.S.A., GUESS Jeans, GUESS? and Triangle Design, MARCIANO, Question Mark and Triangle Design, a stylized G and a stylized M, GUESS Kids, Baby GUESS, YES, G by GUESS, GbG, GUESS by MARCIANO and Gc. As of February 1, 2020, we had over 4,900 U.S. and internationally registered trademarks or trademark applications pending with the trademark offices in over 175 countries around the world, including the U.S. From time-to-time, we adopt new trademarks in connection with the marketing of our product lines. We consider our trademarks to have significant value in the marketing of our products and act aggressively to register and protect our trademarks worldwide.
Like many well-known brands, our trademarks are subject to infringement. We have staff devoted to the monitoring and aggressive protection of our trademarks worldwide.
We generally receive orders for fashion apparel three to six months prior to the time the products are delivered to our customers’ stores. The backlog of wholesale orders at any given time is affected by various factors, including seasonality, cancellations, the scheduling of market weeks, the timing of the receipt of orders and the timing of the shipment of orders and may include orders for multiple seasons. Accordingly, a comparison of backlogs of wholesale orders from period-to-period is not necessarily meaningful and may not be indicative of eventual actual shipments. This is particularly true in light of recent events resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which we expect could have a material impact on our wholesale orders and backlog.
U.S. and Canada Backlog. Our U.S. and Canadian wholesale backlog as of March 23, 2020, consisting primarily of orders for fashion apparel, was $43.6 million in constant currency, compared to $47.7 million at March 25, 2019, a decrease of 8.5%.
Europe Backlog. As of March 22, 2020, the European wholesale backlog was €292.7 million, compared to €249.8 million at March 24, 2019, an increase of 17.2%. The backlog as of March 22, 2020 is primarily comprised of sales orders for the Fall/Winter 2020 and Spring/Summer 2020 seasons.
As of February 2020, we had approximately 15,800 associates, both full and part-time, consisting of approximately 6,500 in the U.S. and 9,300 in foreign countries. The number of our employees fluctuates during the year based on seasonal needs. In some international markets, local laws provide for employee representation by organizations similar to unions and some of our international employees are covered by trade-sponsored or governmental bargaining arrangements. We consider our relationship with our associates to be good.
We and our licensing partners and suppliers are subject to federal, state, local and foreign laws, regulations and ordinances that govern activities or operations that may have adverse environmental effects (such as emissions to air, discharges to water, and the generation, handling, storage and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes). We are also subject to laws, regulations and ordinances that impose liability for the costs of clean up or other remediation of contaminated property, including damages from spills, disposals or other releases of hazardous substances or wastes, in certain circumstances without regard to fault. Certain of our operations and those of our licensing partners and suppliers routinely involve the handling of chemicals and wastes, some of which are or may become regulated as hazardous substances. We have not incurred, and do not expect to incur, any significant expenditures or liabilities for environmental matters. As a result, we believe that our environmental obligations will not have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition or results of operations.
Information about our sustainability efforts is available online at http://sustainability.guess.com, which provides information on our policies, social impact and environmental programs, as well as our sustainability strategy, data and reporting. The information contained on, or that may be accessed through, our websites is not incorporated by reference into, and is not a part of, this Annual Report.
Website Access to Our Periodic SEC Reports
Our investor website can be found at http://investors.guess.com. Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, are available at our investor website, free of charge, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file them with, or furnish them to, the SEC. In addition, the charters of our Board of Directors’ Audit, Compensation and Nominating and Governance Committees, as well as the Board of Directors’ Governance Guidelines and our Code of Ethics are posted on our investor website. Printed copies of these documents may also be obtained by writing or telephoning us at: Guess?, Inc., 1444 South Alameda Street, Los Angeles, California 90021, Attention: Investor Relations, (213) 765-5578.
We have included our Internet website addresses throughout this filing as textual references only. The information contained within these websites is not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
ITEM 1A. Risk Factors.
You should carefully consider the following factors and other information in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K. Additional risks which we do not presently consider material, or of which we are not currently aware, may also have an adverse impact on us. Please also see “Important Factors Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” on page (ii).
Our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected by outbreaks of contagious disease such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Our business could be adversely affected by a widespread outbreak of contagious disease, including the recent COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in business closures and a limit on consumer and employee travel across the globe. Any outbreak of contagious diseases, and other adverse public health developments, could have a material and adverse effect on our business operations. These could include disruptions or restrictions on our ability to travel, temporary closures of our stores and/or office buildings or the facilities of our wholesale customers or suppliers. We may also see disruptions or delays in shipments and negative impacts to pricing of certain components of our products. Further, any disruption of our customers or suppliers would likely impact our sales and operating results. In addition, a significant outbreak of contagious diseases in the human population could result in a widespread health crisis that could adversely affect the economies and financial markets of many countries, resulting in an economic downturn that could affect demand for our end customers’ products and likely impact our operating results. The resulting economic downturn can also negatively impact our stock price.
As of the time of this filing, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been broad reaching, including impacts to our retail, wholesale and licensing businesses. The pandemic has had an impact on our business globally, with significant temporary store closures and materially lower store traffic at stores that remain open. The COVID-19 pandemic is also impacting the Asia region where we source most of our inventory. Temporary factory closures and the pace of workers returning to work could further impact our suppliers’ ability to source certain raw materials and to produce and fulfill finished goods orders in a timely manner. As of the date of this filing, we have also experienced modest impacts on deliveries, driven primarily by factory labor shortages and port congestion. However, the ability of our distribution and logistics providers to operate may be further impacted depending on the continued severity and duration of the pandemic and may have a significant impact on the cost and timing of receipts for future seasons. The occurrence of any of these events could further negatively impact our future consolidated financial position, results of operations and cash flows. There could be a prolonged impact on our business due to slow economic recovery or changes in consumer behavior. We currently anticipate that we will be able to satisfy our ongoing cash requirements during the next twelve months primarily with cash flow from operations and existing cash balances as supplemented by borrowings under our existing Credit Facility in the U.S. and Canada as well as bank facilities in Europe and China as needed. However, if we have sustained decrease in consumer demand related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we may require access to additional credit. There is no guarantee that we will be able to obtain additional credit or to extend or refinance our existing borrowing agreements, if needed. The results for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 as well as full fiscal 2021 could also be impacted in ways we are not able to predict today, including, but not limited to, non-cash write-downs and asset impairment charges (including impairments on property and equipment, operating lease right-of use assets and goodwill); unrealized gains or losses related to investments; foreign currency
fluctuations; and collections of accounts receivables. We are continuing to monitor the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Demand for our merchandise may decrease and the appeal of our brand image may diminish if we fail to identify and rapidly respond to consumers’ fashion tastes.
The apparel industry is subject to rapidly evolving fashion trends and shifting consumer demands. Accordingly, our brand image and our profitability are heavily dependent upon both the priority our target customers place on fashion and our ability to anticipate, identify and capitalize upon emerging fashion trends. Current fashion tastes place significant emphasis on a fashionable look. In the past, this emphasis has increased and decreased through fashion cycles. If we fail to anticipate, identify or react appropriately, or in a timely manner, to fashion trends, we could experience reduced consumer acceptance of our products and a diminished brand image. These factors could result in higher wholesale markdowns, lower average unit retail prices, lower product margins and decreased sales volumes for our products and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
The apparel industry is highly competitive, and we may face difficulties competing successfully in the future.
We operate in a highly competitive and fragmented industry with low barriers to entry. We compete with many apparel manufacturers and distributors, both domestically and internationally, as well as many well-known designers. We compete with many other retailers (both brick and mortar and e-commerce sites), including department stores, some of whom are our major wholesale customers. Our licensed apparel and accessories compete with many well-known brands. Within each of our geographic markets, we also face significant competition from global and regional branded apparel companies, as well as retailers that market apparel under their own labels. These and other competitors pose significant challenges to our market share in our existing major domestic and foreign markets and to our ability to successfully develop new markets. Some of our competitors have competitive advantages over us, including greater financial and marketing resources, higher wage rates, lower prices, more desirable store locations, greater online and e-commerce presence and faster speed-to-market. In addition, our larger competitors may be better equipped than us to adapt to changing conditions that affect the competitive market and newer competitors may be viewed as more desirable by fashion conscious consumers. Also, in most countries, the industry’s low barriers to entry allow the introduction of new products or new competitors at a fast pace. In other countries, high import duties may favor locally produced products. Any of these competition-related factors could result in reductions in sales or prices of our products and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Slowing customer traffic in malls or outlet centers could significantly reduce our sales, increase pressure on our margins and leave us with excess inventory.
Unfavorable economic conditions, changing shopping patterns, including significant increases in e-commerce sales, changing demographic patterns and other factors have adversely affected customer traffic in mall and outlet centers. This, in turn, has resulted in significant pricing pressures and a highly promotional retail environment in the apparel sector. Should these trends continue or worsen, it could negatively impact our sales, increase pressure on our margins, leave us with excess inventory, cause a decline in profits and negatively impact our liquidity.
Our inability to protect our reputation could have a material adverse effect on our brand.
Our ability to maintain our reputation is critical to our brand. Our reputation could be jeopardized if we or our third-party providers fail to maintain high standards for merchandise quality and integrity. Any negative publicity about these types of concerns may reduce demand for our merchandise. Failure by us or our third-party providers to comply with ethical, social, product, labor, health and safety or environmental standards could also jeopardize our reputation and potentially lead to various adverse consumer actions, including boycotts. They could also impact investment decisions by investors, including some large institutional investors and funds, which could negatively impact our stock price. With the increased proliferation of social media, public perception about our products, our business practices, our stores or our brand, whether justified or not, could significantly impair our reputation, involve us in litigation, damage our brand and have a material adverse effect on our business. Failure to comply with local laws and regulations, to maintain an effective system of internal controls or to provide accurate and timely financial statement information could also hurt our reputation. Damage to our reputation or loss of consumer confidence for any of these or other reasons could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition, as well as require additional resources to rebuild our reputation.
Poor or uncertain economic conditions, and the resulting negative impact on consumer confidence and spending, have had and could in the future have an adverse effect on our business, prospects, operating results, financial condition and cash flows.
The apparel industry is cyclical in nature and is particularly affected by adverse trends in the general economy. Purchases of apparel and related merchandise are generally discretionary and therefore tend to decline during periods of economic uncertainty and recession, but may also decline at other times. Over the last several years, volatile economic conditions and uncertain market conditions in many markets around the world have resulted in cautious consumer spending. For example, a number of European countries experienced difficult economic conditions, including sovereign debt issues that negatively impacted the capital markets. These conditions resulted in reduced consumer confidence and spending in many countries in Europe, particularly Southern Europe. While these conditions have improved, if conditions in Europe, or other economic regions in which we do business, worsen or fail to further improve, there will likely be a negative impact on our business, prospects, operating results, financial condition and cash flows.
In addition to the factors contributing to the current economic environment, there are a number of other factors that could contribute to reduced levels of consumer spending, such as increases in interest rates, currency fluctuations, inflation, unemployment, consumer debt levels, inclement weather, taxation rates, net worth reductions based on market declines or uncertainty, energy prices and austerity measures. Similarly, natural disasters, labor unrest, actual or potential terrorist acts, public health crises, geopolitical unrest and other conflicts can also create significant instability and uncertainty in the world, causing consumers to defer purchases and travel, or prevent our suppliers and service providers from providing required services or materials to us. These or other factors could materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, operating results, financial condition and cash flows. Uncertainty surrounding potential U.S. policies related to immigration, global trade and other matters could amplify many of these risks and potential impacts.
Our business is global in scope and can be impacted by factors beyond our control.
As a result of our large and growing international operations, we face the possibility of greater losses from a number of risks inherent in doing business in international markets and from a number of factors which are beyond our control. Such factors that could harm our results of operations and financial condition include, among other things:
political instability or acts of terrorism, which disrupt trade with the countries where we operate or in which our contractors, suppliers or customers are located;
recessions in foreign economies;
inflationary pressures and volatility in foreign economies;
reduced global demand resulting in the closing of manufacturing facilities;
challenges in managing broadly dispersed foreign operations;
local business practices that do not conform to legal or ethical guidelines;
adoption of additional or revised quotas, restrictions or regulations relating to imports or exports;
additional or increased customs duties, tariffs, taxes and other charges on imports or exports;
anti-American sentiment in foreign countries where we operate resulting from actual or proposed changes to U.S. immigration and travel policies or other factors;
delays in receipts due to our distribution centers as a result of labor unrest, increasing security requirements or other factors at U.S. or other ports;
significant fluctuations in the value of the dollar against foreign currencies;
increased difficulty in protecting our intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions;
social, labor, legal or economic instability in the foreign markets in which we do business, which could influence our ability to sell our products in, or distribute our products from, these international markets;
restrictions on the transfer of funds between the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions;
our ability and the ability of our international retail store licensees, distributors and joint venture partners to locate and continue to open desirable new retail locations; and
natural disasters or public health crises in areas in which our contractors, suppliers, or customers are located.
Further, our international presence means that we are subject to certain U.S. laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as well as the laws of the foreign countries in which we operate, including data privacy laws. If any of our international operations, or our employees or agents, violates such laws, we could become subject to sanctions or other penalties that could negatively affect our reputation, business and operating results.
Violation of laws or regulations, or changes to existing laws or regulations could adversely affect our business, reputation and results of operations.
We are subject to numerous laws and regulations at the state, federal and international levels, including, but not limited to, the areas of health care, taxes, transportation and logistics, data privacy, the environment, trade, conflict minerals, product safety, employment and labor, advertising and pricing practices, consumer protection, e-commerce, anti-competition, anti-corruption and intellectual property. Compliance with these numerous laws and regulations is complicated, time consuming and expensive. In addition, the laws may be inconsistent from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and are subject to change from time to time, sometimes unexpectedly. Failure to comply or to effectively anticipate changes in such laws or regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation and results of operations.
Violation of labor, environmental and other laws and practices by our licensees or suppliers could harm our business.
We require our licensing partners and suppliers to operate in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. While our internal and vendor operating guidelines, code of conduct and monitoring programs promote ethical business practices and compliance with laws, we do not control our licensees or suppliers or their labor, environmental, safety or other business practices. The violation of labor, environmental, safety or other laws by any of our licensees or suppliers, or divergence of a licensee’s or supplier’s business practices or social responsibility standards from ours or from those generally accepted as ethical in the U.S., could interrupt or otherwise disrupt the shipment of our products, harm the value of our trademarks, damage our reputation or expose us to potential liability for their wrongdoings.
Our business could suffer if our computer systems and websites are disrupted or cease to operate effectively.
The efficient operation of our business is very dependent on our computer and information systems. In particular, we rely heavily on our merchandise management and ERP systems used to track sales and inventory and manage our supply chain. In addition, we have e-commerce and other Internet websites worldwide. Given the complexity of our business and the significant number of transactions that we engage in on an annual basis, it is imperative that we maintain constant operation of our computer hardware and software systems. Despite our preventative efforts, our systems are vulnerable from time-to-time to damage or interruption from, among other things, ineffective upgrades or support from third-party vendors, difficulties in replacing or integrating new systems, security breaches, computer viruses, natural disasters and power outages. Any such problems or interruptions could result in incorrect information being supplied to management, inefficient ordering and replenishment of products, loss of orders (including e-commerce orders), significant expenditures, disruption of our operations, inability to produce accurate financial statements, and other adverse impacts to our business.
A data privacy breach or failure to comply with data privacy laws could damage our reputation and customer relationships, expose us to litigation risk and potential fines and adversely affect our business.
As part of our normal operations, we collect, process, transmit and where appropriate, retain certain sensitive and confidential employee and customer information, including credit card information. There is significant concern by consumers and employees over the security of personal information, consumer identity theft and user privacy. Despite the security measures we have in place, our facilities and systems, and those of our third-party service providers, may be vulnerable to security breaches, cyber-attacks, acts of vandalism, computer viruses, misplaced or lost data, programming and/or human errors, or other similar events. As a result of recent security breaches at a number of prominent retailers and other large institutions, the media and public scrutiny of information security and privacy has become more intense and the regulatory environment has become more uncertain. Any security breach involving the misappropriation, loss or other unauthorized disclosure of confidential information, whether by us or our vendors, could result in significant legal and remediation expenses, severely damage our reputation and our customer relationships, harm sales, expose us to risks of litigation and liability and result in a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, changing privacy laws in the United
States, Europe and elsewhere, including the adoption by the European Union of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), which became effective May 2018, created new individual privacy rights and imposed increased obligations on companies handling personal data. Consequently, we may incur significant costs related to prevention and to comply with laws regarding the protection and unauthorized disclosure of personal information. A failure to comply with the stringent rules of the GDPR could result in material fines.
A significant disruption at any of our distribution facilities could have a material adverse impact on our sales and operating results.
Our U.S. business relies primarily on a single distribution center located in Louisville, Kentucky to receive, store and distribute merchandise to all of our U.S. retail stores, wholesale customers and e-commerce customers. Distribution of our products in Canada is handled primarily from two distribution centers in Montreal, Quebec. In Asia, we utilize several third-party operated distribution warehouses that service the Asia region. In Europe, distribution of our products is handled primarily by third-party distributors. The Company transitioned a majority of its European product distribution from Italy to facilities located in Venlo, Netherlands and continues to optimize its logistic network in Europe.
Any significant interruption in the operation of any of our distribution centers due to natural events (including public health crises), weather conditions, accidents, system failures, capacity issues, labor issues, relationships with our third-party warehouse operators or landlords, failure to successfully complete or delays in optimizing our logistics network, new providers, and/or new distribution systems or other unforeseen causes could have a material adverse effect on our ability to efficiently manage the volume and/or costs associated with the distribution of our products without encountering shipment delays or wholesale order cancellations. Such impacts could negatively impact our sales, inventory positions, operating results and customer relations.
Failure to deliver merchandise timely to our distribution facilities and to our stores and wholesale customers could lead to disruptions to our business.
The efficient operation of our global retail and wholesale businesses depends on the timely importation and customs clearance, the timely receipt of merchandise to and from our regional distribution centers and our ability to efficiently and effectively process such merchandise. We receive merchandise at our distribution facilities and deliver merchandise to our stores and wholesale customers using independent third parties who import as well as transport goods. The independent third parties and other entities which they rely on have employees which may be represented by labor unions. Disruptions in the delivery of merchandise caused by importation delays or work stoppages by employees or contractors of any of these or other third parties could delay the timely receipt of merchandise. There can be no assurance that such stoppages, delays or disruptions will not occur in the future. Any failure by a third-party to respond adequately to our distribution needs could disrupt our operations and negatively impact our financial condition or results of operations.
Difficulties in the credit markets could have a negative impact on our customers, suppliers and business partners, which, in turn could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and liquidity.
The impact of difficult credit conditions on our customers, business partners, suppliers, insurance providers and financial institutions with which we do business cannot be predicted and may be quite severe. The inability of our manufacturers to ship our products could impair our ability to meet delivery date requirements. A disruption in the ability of our significant customers, distributors or licensees to access liquidity could cause serious disruptions or an overall deterioration of their businesses. A disruption in the ability of a large group of our smaller customers to access liquidity could have similar adverse effects, particularly in our important multi-brand wholesale channel in Southern Europe, where many customers tend to be relatively small and not well capitalized. These conditions could lead to significant reductions in future orders of our products and the inability or failure on our customers’ part to meet their payment obligations to us, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and liquidity.
Similarly, a failure on the part of our insurance providers to meet their obligations for claims made by us could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and liquidity. Continued market difficulties or additional deterioration could jeopardize our ability to rely on those financial institutions that are parties to our various bank facilities and foreign exchange contracts. We could be exposed to a loss if the counterparty fails to meet its obligations upon our exercise of foreign exchange contracts. In addition, instability or other distress in the financial markets
could impair the ability of one or more of the banks participating in our credit agreements from honoring its commitments. This could have an adverse effect on our business if we were not able to replace those commitments or to locate other sources of liquidity on acceptable terms.
Domestic and foreign currency fluctuations could adversely impact our financial condition, results of operations and earnings.
Since the majority of our international operations are conducted in currencies other than the U.S. dollar (primarily the British pound, Canadian dollar, Chinese yuan, euro, Japanese yen, Korean won, Mexican peso, Polish zloty, Russian rouble and Turkish lira), currency fluctuations can have a significant impact on the translation of our international revenues and earnings (loss) into U.S. dollar amounts. These amounts could be materially affected by the strengthening of the U.S. dollar, negatively impacting our results of operations, earnings and our ability to generate revenue growth. Furthermore, our products are typically sourced in U.S. dollars. As a result, the cost of these products may be affected by changes in the value of the applicable local currencies. Changes in currency exchange rates may also affect the U.S. dollar value of the foreign currency denominated prices at which our international businesses sell products. Our future financial results could be significantly affected by not only the value of the U.S. dollar in relation to the foreign currencies in which we conduct business, but also the speed at which these fluctuations occur. If the U.S. dollar strengthens relative to the respective fiscal 2020 foreign exchange rates, foreign exchange could negatively impact our revenues and operating results, as well as our international cash and other balance sheet items during fiscal 2021, particularly in Canada, Europe (primarily the euro, British pound, Turkish lira and Russian rouble) and Mexico.
Although we hedge certain exposures to changes in foreign currency exchange rates, we cannot assure that foreign currency fluctuations will not have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations. Furthermore, since some of our hedging activities are designed to reduce volatility of fluctuating exchange rates, they not only reduce the negative impact of a stronger U.S. dollar, but they also reduce the positive impact of a weaker U.S. dollar. In addition, while our foreign currency hedges are designed to reduce volatility over the forward contract period, these contracts can create volatility during the period. The degree to which our financial results are affected for any given time period will depend in part upon our hedging activities.
Fluctuations in the price or availability of quality raw materials and commodities could increase costs and negatively impact profitability.
The raw materials used to manufacture our merchandise are subject to availability constraints and price volatility caused by high demand for fabrics, currency fluctuations, crop yields, weather patterns, climate change, supply conditions, government regulations (including tariffs), labor conditions, energy costs, transportation or freight costs, economic climate, public health crises, market speculation and other unpredictable factors. Negative trends in any of these conditions or our inability to appropriately project fabric requirements in the future could increase costs and negatively impact profitability.
We are subject to periodic litigation and other regulatory proceedings, which could result in unexpected obligations, as well as the diversion of time and resources.
We are involved from time-to-time in various U.S. and foreign lawsuits relating to our business, including purported class action lawsuits and intellectual property claims. In addition, we can be subject to regulatory scrutiny which may result in regulatory proceedings, such as the European Commission allegations of breach of certain European Union competition rules by the Company which resulted in a fine of €39.8 million ($45.6 million), which was imposed during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 and paid by the Company in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. Due to the inherent uncertainties of litigation and regulatory proceedings, we cannot accurately predict the ultimate outcome of any such new or existing proceedings. Should management’s evaluation of any such claims or proceedings or the likelihood of any future claims or proceedings prove incorrect, our exposure could materially exceed expectations, adversely impacting our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, any significant litigation or regulatory matters, regardless of the merits, could divert management’s attention from our operations and result in substantial legal fees. See “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 15 – Commitments and Contingencies” in this Form 10-K for disclosures about our legal and other proceedings.
We could find that we are carrying excess inventories if we fail to shorten lead-times or anticipate consumer demand, if our international vendors do not supply quality products on a timely basis, if our merchandising strategies fail or if we do not open new and remodel existing stores on schedule.
Although we have shortened lead-times for the design, production and development of a portion of our product lines, we expect to continue to place orders with our vendors for most of our products a season or more in advance. If we are not successful in our efforts to continue to shorten lead-times or if we fail to correctly anticipate fashion trends or consumer demand, we could end up carrying excess inventories. Even if we effectively shorten lead-times and correctly anticipate consumer fashion trends and demand, our vendors could fail to supply the quality products and materials we require at the time we need them. Moreover, we could fail to effectively market or merchandise these products once we receive them. In addition, we could fail to open new or remodeled stores on schedule, and inventory purchases made in anticipation of such store openings could remain unsold. If we experience excess inventories as a result of these or any other factors, including as a result of temporary store closures, wholesale order cancellations and reduced consumer demand resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we could incur inventory write-downs and more markdowns, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Our success depends on the strength of our relationships with our suppliers and manufacturers.
The majority of our finished goods are sourced from partners and suppliers located in over 30 countries outside the U.S. In fiscal 2020, over half of these products were sourced from our partners and suppliers based in China. Our two largest suppliers, which were our licensee partners, accounted for approximately 25% of our purchases of finished goods in fiscal 2020.
We do not own or operate any production facilities, and we depend on independent factories to supply our fabrics and to manufacture our products to our specifications. We do not have long-term contracts with any suppliers or manufacturers, and our business is dependent on our partnerships with our vendors. If manufacturing costs were to rise significantly, our product margins and results of operations could be negatively affected. In addition, very few of our vendors manufacture our products exclusively. As a result, we compete with other companies for the production capacity of independent contractors. If our vendors fail to ship our fabrics or products on time or to meet our quality standards or are unable to fill our orders, we might not be able to deliver products to our retail stores and wholesale customers on time or at all.
Moreover, our suppliers have at times been unable to deliver finished products in a timely fashion. This has led, from time-to-time, to an increase in our inventory, creating potential markdowns and a resulting decrease in our profitability. As there are a finite number of skilled manufacturers that meet our requirements, it could take significant time to identify and qualify suitable alternatives, which could result in our missing retailing seasons or our wholesale customers canceling orders, refusing to accept deliveries or requiring that we lower selling prices. Since we prefer not to return merchandise to our manufacturers, we could also have a considerable amount of unsold merchandise. Any of these problems could harm our financial condition and results of operations.
Our Americas Wholesale business is highly concentrated. If any of our large customers decrease their purchases of our products or experience financial difficulties, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
In fiscal 2020, our two largest wholesale customers accounted for a total of approximately 2.7% of our consolidated net revenue. No other single customer or group of related customers in any of our segments accounted for more than 1.0% of our consolidated net revenue in fiscal 2020. Continued consolidation in the retail industry could further decrease the number of, or concentrate the ownership of, stores that carry our products and our licensees’ products. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of designer brands seeking placement in department stores, which makes any one brand potentially less attractive to department stores. If any one of our major wholesale customers decides to decrease purchases from us, to stop carrying GUESS? products or to carry our products only on terms less favorable to us, our sales and profitability could significantly decrease. Similarly, some retailers have recently experienced significant financial difficulties, which in some cases have resulted in bankruptcy, liquidation and store closures. Financial difficulties of one of our major customers could result in reduced business and higher credit risk with respect to that customer. Any of these circumstances could ultimately have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Since we do not control our licensees’ actions and we depend on our licensees for a substantial portion of our earnings from operations, their conduct could harm our business.
We license to others the rights to produce and market certain products that are sold with our trademarks. While we retain significant control over our licensees’ products and advertising, we rely on our licensees for, among other things, operational and financial control over their businesses. If the quality, focus, image or distribution of our licensed products diminish, consumer acceptance of and demand for the GUESS? brands and products could decline. This could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
In fiscal 2020, slightly less than 80% of our net royalties were derived from our top five licensed product lines. A decrease in customer demand for any of these product lines could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, purchases from our top two licensees in fiscal 2020 accounted for almost 25% of our total inventory purchases. Although we believe that in most circumstances we could replace existing licensees if necessary, we may have a negative impact during the transition period. Our inability to replace existing licensees for any period of time could adversely affect our revenues and results of operations.
We depend on our intellectual property, and our methods of protecting it may not be adequate.
Our success and competitive position depend significantly upon our trademarks and other proprietary rights. We take steps to establish and protect our trademarks worldwide. Despite any precautions we may take to protect our intellectual property, policing unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult, expensive and time consuming, and we may be unable to adequately protect our intellectual property or to determine the extent of any unauthorized use, particularly in those foreign countries where the laws do not protect proprietary rights as fully as in the U.S. We also place significant value on our trade dress and the overall appearance and image of our products. However, we cannot assure you that we can prevent imitation of our products by others or prevent others from seeking to block sales of GUESS? products for purported violations of their trademarks and proprietary rights. We also cannot assure you that others will not assert rights in, or ownership of, trademarks and other proprietary rights of GUESS?, that our proprietary rights would be upheld if challenged or that we would, in that event, not be prevented from using our trademarks, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Further, we could incur substantial costs in legal actions relating to our use of intellectual property or the use of our intellectual property by others. Even if we are successful in such actions, the costs we incur could have a material adverse effect on us.
If we fail to successfully execute growth initiatives, including acquisitions and alliances, our business and results of operations could be harmed.
We regularly evaluate strategic acquisitions and alliances and pursue those that we believe will support and contribute to our overall growth initiatives. Our historical acquisitions include our former European jeanswear licensee in 2005, our former European licensee of children’s apparel in 2008 and our former European licensee of MARCIANO apparel in 2012. In addition, we have entered into joint venture relationships with partners in Brazil, the Canary Islands, Mexico, Portugal and Russia and have been directly operating our South Korea and China businesses since 2007, our international jewelry business since 2010, our Japan business starting in 2013, our retail businesses in Singapore since 2017 and our retail businesses in Cyprus, Hungary and Kazakhstan since 2019.
These efforts place increased demands on our managerial, operational and administrative resources that could prevent or delay the successful opening of new stores and the identification of suitable licensee partners, adversely impact the performance of our existing stores and adversely impact our overall results of operations. In addition, acquired businesses and additional store openings may not provide us with increased business opportunities, or result in the growth that we anticipate, particularly during economic downturns. Furthermore, integrating acquired operations (including operations from existing licensees or joint venture partners) is a complex, time-consuming and expensive process. Failing to acquire and successfully integrate complementary businesses, or failing to achieve the business synergies or other anticipated benefits of acquisitions or joint ventures, could materially adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We may be unsuccessful in implementing our plans to open and operate new stores, which could harm our business and negatively affect our results of operations.
New store openings have historically been an important part of the growth of our business. To open and operate new stores successfully, we must:
identify desirable locations, the availability of which is out of our control;
negotiate acceptable lease terms, including desired tenant improvement allowances;
efficiently build and equip the new stores;
source sufficient levels of inventory to meet the needs of the new stores;
hire, train and retain competent store personnel;
successfully integrate the new stores into our existing systems and operations; and
satisfy the fashion preferences of customers in the new geographic areas.
Any of these challenges could delay our store openings, prevent us from completing our store opening plans or hinder the operations of stores we do open. These challenges could be even more pronounced in foreign markets due to unfamiliar local regulations, business conditions and other factors. Once open, we cannot be sure that our new stores will be profitable. Such things as unfavorable economic and business conditions and changing consumer preferences could also interfere with our store opening plans.
Failure to successfully develop and manage new store design concepts could adversely affect our results of operations.
The introduction and growth or maintenance of new store design concepts as part of our overall growth and productivity strategies could strain our financial and management resources and is subject to a number of other risks, including customer acceptance, product differentiation, competition and maintaining desirable locations. These risks may be compounded during difficult economic climates or any future economic downturn. There can be no assurance that new store designs will achieve or maintain sales and profitability levels that justify the required investments. If we are unable to successfully develop new store designs, or if consumers are not receptive to the products, design layout, or visual merchandising, our results of operations and financial results could be adversely affected. In addition, the failure of new store designs to achieve acceptable results could lead to unplanned store closures and/or impairment and other charges, which could adversely affect our results of operations and ability to grow.
We may not fully realize expected cost savings and/or operating efficiencies related to cost-saving initiatives.
We have identified several areas that present opportunities for future cost savings and efficiencies, including improved working capital management, distribution, supply chain, and other initiatives, based on a number of assumptions and expectations which, if achieved, would improve our profitability and cash flows from operating activities. However, there can be no assurance that the expected results will be achieved. These and any future spend reductions, if any, may also negatively impact our other initiatives or our efforts to grow our business, which may negatively impact our future results of operations and increase the burden on existing management, systems and resources. In addition, these cost savings may be negated or offset by unexpected or increased costs and poorer performance in other areas of the business.
Changes in subjective assumptions, estimates and judgments by management related to complex tax matters, including those resulting from regulatory reviews, could adversely affect our financial results.
We are subject to routine tax audits on various tax matters around the world in the ordinary course of business (including income tax, business tax, customs duties and Value Added Tax (“VAT”) matters). We regularly assess the adequacy of our uncertain tax positions and other reserves, which requires a significant amount of judgment. Although we accrue for uncertain tax positions and other reserves, the results of regulatory audits and negotiations with taxing and customs authorities may be in excess of our accruals, resulting in the payment of additional taxes, duties, penalties and interest. See “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 12 – Income Taxes” in this Form 10-K for disclosures about our tax matters, including reserves for uncertain tax positions.
From time-to-time, we make VAT and other tax-related refund claims with various foreign tax authorities that are audited by those authorities for compliance. Failure by these foreign governments to approve or ultimately pay these claims could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and liquidity.
Changes in tax laws, significant shifts in the relative source of our earnings, or other unanticipated tax liabilities could adversely affect our effective income tax rate and profitability and may result in volatility in our financial results.
We are subject to income taxes in the U.S. and numerous foreign jurisdictions. Tax laws, regulations, and administrative practices in various jurisdictions may be subject to significant change. We record tax expense based on our estimate of future payments, which include reserves for uncertain tax positions in multiple tax jurisdictions and requires significant judgment in evaluating and estimating our provision and accruals. Our effective income tax rate in the future could be affected by a number of other factors, including: the outcome of income tax audits in various jurisdictions around the world, changes in our stock price, the resolution of uncertain tax positions and changes in our operating structure. We and our subsidiaries are engaged in a number of intercompany transactions across multiple tax jurisdictions. Although we believe that these transactions reflect arm’s length terms and that the proper transfer pricing documentation is in place, these transfer pricing terms and conditions may be scrutinized by local tax authorities during an audit and any resulting changes may impact our mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates. In addition, the relative amount of our foreign earnings, including earnings being lower than anticipated in jurisdictions where we have lower statutory rates and higher than anticipated in jurisdictions where we have higher statutory rates, as well as losses in jurisdictions where we are unable to realize the related tax benefits, can create volatility in our effective income tax rate. Any one of these factors could adversely impact our income tax rate and our profitability and could create ongoing variability in our quarterly or annual tax rates.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international association comprised of 36 countries, including the United States, has made changes to numerous long-standing tax principles. There can be no assurance that these changes, once adopted by countries, will not have an adverse impact on our provision for income taxes.
The recently enacted 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in the U.S. (referred to herein as the “Tax Reform”) significantly changes how the U.S. taxes corporations and requires complex computations to be performed that were not previously required in U.S. tax law. Interpretation of the provisions of the Tax Reform require significant judgment and estimates. The IRS and other standard-setting bodies could interpret or issue additional guidance on how provisions of the Tax Reform should be applied that is different from our interpretation. Publication of additional interpretations, or enactment of additional legislation, may materially impact our provision for income taxes in the future periods in which the adjustments are made.
Future changes to U.S. tax or trade policies impacting multi-national companies could materially affect our financial condition and results of operations.
During fiscal 2020, we sourced most of our finished products with partners and suppliers outside the U.S. and we continued to design and purchase fabrics globally, with most of our fabrics coming from China. In addition, over time we have increased our sales of product outside of the U.S. In fiscal 2020, approximately 72% of our consolidated net product sales was generated by sales from outside of the U.S. In the long-term, we anticipate that these international revenues will continue to grow as a percentage of our total business. The current political landscape has introduced greater uncertainty with respect to future tax and trade regulations for U.S. companies like ours with significant business and sourcing operations outside the U.S.
The ongoing economic conflict between the U.S. and China has resulted in increased tariffs being imposed on goods that we import from China. We have been reducing our dependency on China sourcing, particularly for our U.S. business, and mitigating potential tariffs’ risks without compromising the quality of our products and while improving costs. However, we cannot predict whether, and to what extent, there may be changes to international trade agreements, such as those in place with China, or whether quotas, duties, tariffs, exchange controls or other restrictions will be changed or imposed by the U.S. or by other countries. If we or our vendors or product licensees are unable to obtain raw materials or finished goods from the countries where we or they wish to purchase them, either because of such regulatory changes or for any other reason, or if the cost of doing so should increase, it could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Abnormally harsh or unseasonable weather conditions could have a material adverse impact on our sales, inventory levels and operating results.
Extreme weather conditions in areas in which our retail stores and wholesale doors are located, particularly in markets where we have a concentration of locations, could adversely affect our business. For example, heavy snowfall, rainfall or other extreme weather conditions over a prolonged period might make it difficult for our customers to travel to our stores and thereby reduce our sales and profitability. Our business is also susceptible to unseasonable weather conditions. For example, extended periods of unseasonably warm temperatures during the winter season or cool weather during the summer season could render a portion of our inventory incompatible with those unseasonable conditions. Reduced sales from extreme or prolonged unseasonable weather conditions could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Our results of operations could be affected by natural events in the locations in which we or our customers or suppliers operate.
Our corporate headquarters, as well as other key operational locations, including retail, distribution and warehousing facilities, are located in areas that are subject to natural events such as severe weather and geological events or public health crises that could disrupt our operations. Many of our suppliers and customers also have operations in these locations. The occurrence of such natural events may result in sudden disruptions in business conditions of the local economies affected, as well as of the regional and global economies. Such disruptions could result in store closures, decreased demand for our products and disruptions in our management functions, sales channels and manufacturing and distribution networks, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. For example, the recent COVID-19 pandemic is having a material impact on the Company’s financial performance during the first quarter of fiscal 2021. The pandemic is ongoing and dynamic in nature and, to date, the Company has experienced temporary closures in key regions globally, along with other major retailers. In addition, retail stores and e-commerce sites have experienced significant reductions in traffic and therefore, revenue. The extent and duration of the crisis remains uncertain and may continue to have significant negative impacts to all aspects of our business and results of operations in future periods.
Our Chairman and our Chief Creative Officer own a significant percentage of our common stock. Their interests may differ from the interests of our other stockholders.
Maurice Marciano, our Chairman and Board member, and Paul Marciano, our Chief Creative Officer and Board member, collectively beneficially own approximately 37% of our outstanding shares of common stock. The sale or prospect of the sale of a substantial number of these shares could have an adverse impact on the market price of our common stock. Moreover, these individuals may have different interests than our other stockholders and, accordingly, they may direct the operations of our business in a manner contrary to the interests of our other stockholders. As long as these individuals own a significant percentage of our common stock, they may effectively be able to:
amend or prevent amendment of our Restated Certificate of Incorporation or Bylaws;
effect or prevent a merger, sale and/or purchase of assets or other corporate transactions; and
control the outcome of any other matter submitted to our stockholders for vote.
Their stock ownership, together with the anti-takeover effects of certain provisions of applicable Delaware law and our Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws, may discourage acquisition bids or allow the Marcianos to delay or prevent a change in control that may be favored by our other stockholders, which in turn could reduce our stock price or prevent our stockholders from realizing a premium over our common stock price.
Our failure to retain our existing senior management team or to retain or attract other key personnel could adversely affect our business.
Our business requires disciplined execution at all levels of our organization in order to ensure the timely delivery of desirable merchandise in appropriate quantities to our stores and other customers. This execution requires experienced and talented management in various areas of our business including: advertising, design, finance, merchandising, operations, and production. Our success depends upon the personal efforts and abilities of our senior management, particularly Carlos Alberini, our Chief Executive Officer, Paul Marciano, our Chief Creative Officer, and other key personnel. Although we believe we have a strong management team with relevant industry expertise,
the extended loss of the services of these or other key personnel and failure to effectively identify and attract suitable successors could materially harm our business.
Fluctuations in quarterly performance including comparable store sales, sales per square foot, operating margins, timing of wholesale orders, royalty net revenue or other factors could have a material adverse effect on our earnings and our stock price.
Our quarterly results of operations for each of our business segments have fluctuated in the past and can be expected to fluctuate in the future. Further, if global growth plans or productivity initiatives fail to meet our expected results, our overhead and other costs could increase without an offsetting increase in sales and net revenue. This could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition, including but not limited to future impairments of store assets or goodwill.
Our net revenue and operating results have historically been lower in the first half of our fiscal year due to general seasonal trends in the apparel and retail industries. Our comparable store sales, quarterly results of operations and stock price can also be affected by a variety of other factors, including:
shifts in consumer tastes and fashion trends;
the timing of new store openings and the relative proportion of new stores to mature stores;
the timing and effectiveness of planned store closures;
calendar shifts of holiday or seasonal periods;
the timing of seasonal wholesale shipments;
the effectiveness of our inventory management;
the effectiveness and efficiency of our product distribution network;
changes in our merchandise mix;
changes in our mix of revenues by segment;
the timing of promotional events;
changes in the business environment;
inflationary changes in prices and costs;
changes in the payment of future cash dividends;
changes in currency exchange rates;
changes in patterns of commerce such as the expansion of e-commerce;
the level of pre-operating expenses associated with new stores; and
volatility in securities’ markets which could impact the value of our investments in non-operating assets.
An unfavorable change in any of the above factors could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and our stock price.
Our indebtedness and liabilities could limit the cash flow available for our operations, expose us to risks that could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and impair our ability to satisfy our obligations under our outstanding indebtedness.
As of February 1, 2020, we had approximately $19.1 million of secured indebtedness, $306.6 million of senior unsecured indebtedness at maturity and approximately $232.8 million of trade payables on a consolidated basis.
We may incur additional indebtedness or draw on our existing credit facilities to meet future financing needs, some of which may be secured indebtedness. For example, subsequent to year end, as a precautionary measure to ensure financial flexibility and maintain maximum liquidity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company drew down approximately $212 million under certain of its credit facilities in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Our indebtedness could have significant negative consequences for our security holders and our business, results of operations and financial condition by, among other things:
increasing our vulnerability to adverse economic and industry conditions;
limiting our ability to obtain additional financing;
requiring the dedication of a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to service our indebtedness, which will reduce the amount of cash available for other purposes;
limiting our flexibility to plan for, or react to, changes in our business;
diluting the interests of our existing stockholders as a result of issuing shares of our common stock upon conversion of the Notes; and
placing us at a possible competitive disadvantage with competitors that are less leveraged than us or have better access to capital.
Our business may not generate sufficient funds, and we may otherwise be unable to maintain sufficient cash reserves, to pay amounts due under our indebtedness, and our cash needs may increase in the future. In addition, our existing Credit Facility contains, and any future indebtedness that we may incur may contain, financial and other restrictive covenants that limit our ability to operate our business, raise capital or make payments under our other indebtedness. If we fail to comply with these covenants or to make payments under our indebtedness when due, then we would be in default under that indebtedness, which could, in turn, result in that and our other indebtedness becoming immediately payable in full.
We conduct a significant amount of our operations through our subsidiaries and may rely on our subsidiaries to make payments under our outstanding indebtedness.
We conduct a significant amount of our operations through our subsidiaries. Accordingly, our ability to pay amounts due on our outstanding indebtedness may depend on the cash flows of our subsidiaries and their ability to make distributions to us. Our subsidiaries are separate and distinct legal entities and any payments to us would depend on the earnings or financial condition of our subsidiaries and various business considerations. Statutory, contractual or other restrictions may also limit our subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends or make distributions, loans or advances to us, and the notes and the Indenture (as defined below) pursuant to which the notes were issued do not limit or restrict our or our subsidiaries’ ability to enter into contractual restrictions on our subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends or make distributions, loans or advances to us. For these reasons, we may not have access to any assets or cash flows of our subsidiaries to make payments on our outstanding indebtedness.
We cannot ensure that we will continue paying dividends at the current rates, or at all.
We cannot ensure that we will continue periodic dividends on our common stock at the current rates, or at all. On April 19, 2019, our Board of Directors determined to reduce the quarterly cash dividend paid to holders of our common stock, when, as and if any such dividend with respect to any future period is decided by the Board of Directors, from $0.225 per share to $0.1125 per share. On March 18, 2020, we announced that, in light of uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we had decided to postpone our decision related to the potential declaration of a quarterly cash dividend for the first quarter of fiscal 2021.
Changes in our dividend and market perceptions and expectations with respect to our dividend, may materially affect the price of our common stock and the Notes (as defined below). See “Part IV. Financial Statements - Note 10 - Convertible Senior Notes and Related Transactions” in this Form 10-K for disclosures about the Notes.
Any quarterly dividends on our common stock will be paid from funds legally available for such purpose when, as and if declared by our Board of Directors. Decisions on whether, when and in which amounts to continue making any future dividend distributions will remain at all times entirely at the discretion of our Board of Directors, which reserves the right to change or terminate our dividend practices at any time and for any reason without prior notice, including without limitation for any of the following reasons:
our cash requirements or plans might change for a wide variety of reasons, including changes in our financial position, capital allocation plans (including a desire to retain or accumulate cash), capital spending plans, stock purchase plans, acquisition strategies, strategic initiatives, debt payment plans (including a desire to maintain or improve credit ratings on our debt securities), pension funding or other benefits payments;
our ability to service and refinance our current and future indebtedness and our ability to borrow or raise additional capital to satisfy our capital needs;
the amount of dividends that we may distribute to our shareholders is subject to restrictions under applicable law and restrictions imposed by our existing or future credit facilities, debt securities, then-outstanding preferred stock securities, if any, leases and other agreements, including restricted payment and leverage covenants; and
the amount of cash that our subsidiaries may make available to us, whether by dividends, loans or other payments, may be subject to the legal, regulatory and contractual restrictions in our outstanding indebtedness.
Based on its evaluation of these and other relevant factors, our Board of Directors may, in its sole discretion, decide not to declare a dividend on our common stock for any period and for any reason without prior notice, regardless of whether we have funds legally available for such purposes. Holders of our equity securities have no contractual or other legal right to receive dividends.
We may be unable to raise the funds necessary to repurchase our $300 million 2.0% convertible senior notes due 2024 (the “Notes”) for cash following a fundamental change, or to pay any cash amounts due upon conversion, and our other indebtedness may limit our ability to repurchase the Notes or pay cash upon their conversion.
Noteholders may require us to repurchase their Notes following a fundamental change at a cash repurchase price generally equal to the principal amount of the Notes to be repurchased, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any. In addition, upon conversion, we will satisfy part or all of our conversion obligation in cash unless we elect to settle conversions solely in shares of our common stock. Moreover, we will be required to repay the Notes in cash at their maturity, unless earlier converted or repurchased. We may not have enough available cash or be able to obtain financing at the time we are required to repurchase the Notes or pay the cash amounts due upon conversion. In addition, applicable law, regulatory authorities and the agreements governing our other indebtedness, including our current Credit Facility and other agreements we may enter into in the future, may restrict our ability to make payments on the Notes other than scheduled principal and interest, and as a result, upon a fundamental change we may not be able to repurchase the Notes and upon any conversions of the Notes may be unable to pay the cash amounts, if any, then due. Our inability to satisfy our obligations under the Notes could harm our reputation and affect the trading price of our common stock.
Our failure to repurchase Notes or to pay the cash amounts due upon conversion or at maturity when required will constitute a default under the Indenture. A default under the Indenture or the fundamental change itself could also lead to a default under agreements governing our other indebtedness, which may result in that other indebtedness becoming immediately payable in full. We may not have sufficient funds to satisfy all amounts due under the other indebtedness and the Notes.
The issuance or sale of shares of our common stock, or rights to acquire shares of our common stock, could depress the trading price of our common stock and the Notes.
We may conduct future offerings of our common stock, preferred stock or other securities that are convertible into or exercisable for our common stock to finance our operations or fund acquisitions, or for other purposes. In addition, we have reserved a substantial number of shares of our common stock for issuance upon the exercise of stock options, upon the vesting of restricted stock and restricted stock units pursuant to our employee benefit plans, upon conversion of the Notes and upon the exercise and settlement or termination of the warrant transactions. We cannot predict the size of future issuances or the effect, if any, that they may have on the trading price of our common stock and the Notes.
If we issue additional shares of our common stock or rights to acquire shares of our common stock, if any of our existing stockholders sells a substantial amount of our common stock, or if the market perceives that such issuances or sales may occur, then the trading price of our common stock and the Notes may significantly decrease. In addition, our issuance of additional shares of common stock will dilute the ownership interests of our existing common stockholders.
Recent and future regulatory actions and other events may adversely affect the trading price and liquidity of the Notes and the liquidity of the market for our common stock.
Noteholders may seek to employ a convertible note arbitrage strategy with respect to the Notes. Under this strategy, investors typically short sell a certain number of shares of our common stock and adjust their short position over time while they continue to hold the Notes. Investors may also implement this type of strategy by entering into swaps on our common stock in lieu of, or in addition to, short selling shares of our common stock.
The SEC and other regulatory authorities have implemented various rules and taken certain actions, and may in the future adopt additional rules and take other actions, that may impact those engaging in short selling activity involving equity securities (including our common stock). These rules and actions include Rule 201 of SEC Regulation SHO, the adoption by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., and the national securities exchanges of a “limit up-limit down” program, the imposition of market-wide circuit breakers that halt trading of securities for certain periods following specific market declines, and the implementation of certain regulatory reforms required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Any governmental or regulatory action that restricts investors’ ability to effect short sales of our common stock or enter into equity swaps on our common stock could depress the trading price of, and the liquidity of the market for, the Notes.
In addition, the liquidity of the market for our common stock may decline, including as a result of our anticipated share repurchases, which could reduce the number of shares available for lending in connection with short sale transactions and the number of counterparties willing to enter into an equity swap on our common stock with a note investor. If investors and noteholders seeking to employ a convertible note arbitrage strategy are unable to borrow or enter into equity swaps on our common stock on commercially reasonable terms, then the trading price of, and the liquidity of the market for, the Notes may significantly decline.
Provisions in the indenture for the Notes (the “Indenture”) could delay or prevent an otherwise beneficial takeover of us.
Certain provisions in the Indenture could make a third-party attempt to acquire us more difficult or expensive. For example, if a takeover constitutes a fundamental change, then noteholders will have the right to require us to repurchase their Notes for cash. In addition, if a takeover constitutes a make-whole fundamental change, then we may be required to temporarily increase the conversion rate. As well, the Indenture prohibits us from engaging in certain mergers or acquisitions unless, among other things, the surviving entity assumes our obligations under the Notes. In such cases, and in other cases, our obligations under the Notes and the Indenture could increase the cost of acquiring us or otherwise discourage a third-party from acquiring us or removing incumbent management, including in a transaction that noteholders or holders of our common stock may view as favorable.
The conditional conversion feature of the Notes, if triggered, may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
In the event the conditional conversion feature of the Notes is triggered, noteholders will be entitled to convert the Notes at any time during specified periods at their option. If one or more noteholders elect to convert their Notes, unless we elect to satisfy our conversion obligation by delivering solely shares of our common stock, we would be required to settle all or a portion of the conversion obligation through the payment of cash, which could adversely affect our liquidity. Even if noteholders do not elect to convert their Notes, we could be required under applicable accounting rules to reclassify all or a portion of the outstanding principal of the Notes as a current liability, which would result in a material reduction of our net working capital.
The accounting method for the Notes could adversely affect our reported financial condition and results.
The accounting method for reflecting the Notes on our balance sheet, accruing interest expense for the Notes and reflecting the underlying shares of our common stock in our reported diluted earnings per share may adversely affect our reported earnings and financial condition.
Under applicable accounting principles, the initial liability carrying amount of the Notes is the fair value of a similar debt instrument that does not have a conversion feature, valued using our cost of capital for straight, unconvertible debt. We reflect the difference between the net proceeds from the Notes offering and the initial carrying amount as a debt discount for accounting purposes, which will be amortized into interest expense over the term of the Notes. As a result of this amortization, the interest expense that we expect to recognize for the Notes for accounting
purposes will be greater than the cash interest payments we will pay on the Notes, which will result in lower reported income or higher reported loss. The lower reported income or higher reported loss resulting from this accounting treatment could depress the trading price of our common stock and the Notes.
In addition, because we intend to settle conversions by paying the conversion value in cash up to the principal amount being converted and any excess in shares, we expect to be eligible to use the treasury stock method to reflect the shares underlying the Notes in our diluted earnings per share. Under this method, if the conversion value of the notes exceeds their principal amount for a reporting period, then we will calculate our diluted earnings per share assuming that all the Notes were converted and that we issued shares of our common stock to settle the excess. However, if reflecting the Notes in diluted earnings per share in this manner is antidilutive, or if the conversion value of the Notes does not exceed their principal amount for a reporting period, then the shares underlying the Notes will not be reflected in our diluted earnings per share. However, if for any reason we are unable to use the treasury stock method in accounting for the shares issuable upon conversion of the Notes, then our diluted earnings per share may be adversely affected. For example, the Financial Accounting Standards Board has recently taken preliminary steps to potentially amend these accounting standards to eliminate the treasury stock method for convertible instruments and instead require application of the “if-converted” method. Under that method, if it is adopted, diluted earnings per share would generally be calculated assuming that all the Notes were converted solely into shares of common stock at the beginning of the reporting period, unless the result would be antidilutive. The application of the if-converted method may reduce our reported diluted earnings per share.
Furthermore, if any of the conditions to the convertibility of the Notes is satisfied, then we may be required under applicable accounting standards to reclassify the liability carrying value of the Notes as a current, rather than a long-term, liability. This reclassification could be required even if no noteholders convert their Notes and could materially reduce our reported working capital.
The Notes’ hedge and warrant transactions may affect the value of the Notes and our common stock.
In connection with the pricing of the Notes, we entered into convertible note hedge transactions with the hedge counterparties. The convertible note hedge transactions covered, subject to anti-dilution adjustments substantially similar to those applicable to the Notes, the number of shares of common stock that initially underlie the Notes, including those sold to the initial purchaser, and are expected generally to reduce the potential dilution upon conversion of the Notes and/or offset any cash payments we are required to make in excess of the principal amount of converted Notes, as the case may be. We also entered into warrant transactions with the hedge counterparties relating to the same number of shares of our common stock, subject to customary antidilution adjustments. However, the warrant transactions could separately have a dilutive effect on our common stock to the extent that the market price per share of our common stock exceeds the strike price of the warrants. In connection with establishing their initial hedges of the convertible note hedge and warrant transactions, the hedge counterparties or affiliates thereof entered into various derivative transactions with respect to our common stock concurrently with or shortly after the pricing of the Notes, and may unwind these derivative transactions and purchase shares of our common stock in open market transactions shortly following the pricing of the Notes. These activities could increase (or reduce the size of any decrease in) the market price of our common stock or the Notes at that time.
In addition, the hedge counterparties or affiliates thereof may modify their hedge positions by entering into or unwinding various derivatives with respect to our common stock and/or purchasing or selling our common stock or other securities of ours in secondary market transactions prior to the maturity of the Notes (and are likely to do so during any observation period related to a conversion of Notes). This activity could also cause or avoid an increase or a decrease in the market price of our common stock or the Notes.
We are subject to counterparty risk with respect to the Notes’ hedge transactions.
The hedge counterparties are financial institutions, and we are subject to the risk that they might default under the convertible note hedge transactions. Our exposure to the credit risk of the hedge counterparties is not secured by any collateral. Global economic conditions have from time to time resulted in the actual or perceived failure or financial difficulties of many financial institutions, including the bankruptcy filing by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and its various affiliates. If any hedge counterparty becomes subject to insolvency proceedings, we will become an unsecured creditor in those proceedings with a claim equal to our exposure at that time under our transactions with such hedge counterparty. Our exposure will depend on many factors, but, generally, the increase in our exposure
will be correlated to the increase in the market price and in the volatility of our common stock. In addition, upon a default by a hedge counterparty, we may suffer adverse tax consequences and more dilution than we currently anticipate with respect to our common stock. We can provide no assurances as to the financial stability or viability of the hedge counterparties.
Conversion of the Notes or exercise of the warrants evidenced by the warrant transactions may dilute the ownership interest of existing stockholders.
At our election, we may settle Notes tendered for conversion entirely or partly in shares of our common stock. Furthermore, the warrants evidenced by the warrant transactions are expected to be settled on a net-share basis. As a result, the conversion of some or all of the Notes or the exercise of some or all of such warrants may dilute the ownership interests of existing stockholders. Any sales in the public market of the common stock issuable upon such conversion of the Notes or such exercise of the warrants could adversely affect prevailing market prices of our common stock and, in turn, the price of the Notes. In addition, the existence of the Notes may encourage short selling by market participants because the conversion of the Notes could depress the price of our common stock.
Our repurchases of shares of our common stock may affect the value of the Notes and our common stock.
After effectuating the convertible note hedge transactions, we used substantially all of the net proceeds of the Notes offering to repurchase shares of our common stock pursuant to our $500 million share repurchase program. Some of these transactions were affected by repurchases from purchasers of the Notes in privately negotiated transactions through the initial purchaser or its affiliate, as our agent, concurrently with the closing of the Notes offering, and we may continue to effect repurchases in open market or other transactions from time to time in the future. These activities and our other repurchases of shares of our common stock may cause or avoid an increase or a decrease in the market price of our common stock or the Notes and add volatility. There can be no assurance that repurchases will be made at the best possible price. Potential risks and uncertainties also include, but are not necessarily limited to, the amount and timing of future share repurchases and the origin of funds used for such repurchases. The existence of a share repurchase program could also cause the market price of our common stock to be higher than it would be in the absence of such a program and could potentially reduce the market liquidity for our common stock. Depending on market conditions and other factors, these repurchases may be commenced or suspended from time to time. Any such suspension could cause the market price of our common stock to decline.
ITEM 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.
ITEM 2. Properties.
As of February 1, 2020, all of our principal facilities were leased with the exception of our U.S. distribution center based in Louisville, Kentucky and our administrative office based in Florence, Italy. Certain information concerning our principal facilities is set forth below:
Los Angeles, California
Principal executive and administrative offices, design facilities, sales offices, warehouse facilities and sourcing used by our Americas Wholesale, Americas Retail, Corporate and Licensing support groups
Distribution and warehousing facility used by our Americas Wholesale and Americas Retail segments
Administrative offices, showrooms and warehouse facilities used by our Americas Wholesale and Americas Retail segments
Administrative, sales and marketing offices, design facilities and showrooms used by our Europe segment
Distribution and warehousing facilities used by all of our segments
Administrative office used by our Europe segment
Administrative offices used by our Asia segment
Seoul, South Korea
Administrative and sales offices, design facilities and showrooms used by our Asia segment
Our corporate, wholesale and retail headquarters and certain warehouse facilities are located in Los Angeles, California, consisting of four buildings totaling approximately 341,700 square feet. These facilities are leased by us from limited partnerships in which the sole partners are trusts controlled by and for the benefit of Maurice Marciano and Paul Marciano (the “Principal Stockholders”) and their families pursuant to a lease that expires in July 2020. The total lease payments related to these facilities are approximately $0.3 million per month and the related lease liability was approximately $1.4 million as of February 1, 2020.
In addition, the Company, through a wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary, leases warehouse and administrative facilities in Montreal, Quebec from a partnership affiliated with the Principal Stockholders. The lease expires in August 2021. The monthly lease payment is CAD$49,000 (US$37,000) and the related lease liability was approximately CAD$0.8 million (US$0.6 million) as of February 1, 2020.
The Company, through a French subsidiary, leases a showroom and office space located in Paris, France from an entity that is owned in part by an affiliate of the Principal Stockholders. The lease expires in fiscal 2021. The monthly lease payment is €75,000 (US$84,000) and the related lease liability was approximately €0.4 million (US$0.4 million) as of February 1, 2020.
See “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 14 – Related Party Transactions” in this Form 10-K for disclosures about our related party transactions.
Our U.S. distribution center is a fully automated facility based in Louisville, Kentucky. Distribution of our products in Canada is handled primarily from two leased facilities based in Montreal, Quebec. Distribution of our products in Europe is handled by third-party distributors. During fiscal 2019, the Company transitioned a majority of its European product distribution from Italy to facilities located in Venlo, Netherlands. Additionally, we utilize several third-party operated distribution warehouses that service the Asia region.
We lease our showrooms, advertising, licensing, sales and merchandising offices, remote distribution and warehousing facilities and retail and factory outlet store locations under non-cancelable operating lease agreements expiring on various dates through January 2039. These facilities had aggregate real estate lease liabilities as of
February 1, 2020 totaling approximately $896.4 million, excluding related party liabilities. See “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 9 – Lease Accounting” in this Form 10-K for further detail.
We believe our existing facilities are well maintained, in good operating condition and are adequate to support our present level of operations.
ITEM 3. Legal Proceedings.
See “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 15 – Commitments and Contingencies” in this Form 10-K for disclosures about our legal and other proceedings.
ITEM 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.
ITEM 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
Market and Shareholder Information
Since August 8, 1996, the Company’s common stock has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘GES.’ On March 27, 2020, there were 298 holders of record of the Company’s common stock.
Prior to the initiation of a quarterly dividend on February 12, 2007, the Company had not declared any dividends on our common stock since our initial public offering in 1996. On March 18, 2020, the Company announced that, in light of uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it had decided to postpone its decision related to the potential declaration of a quarterly cash dividend for the first quarter of fiscal 2021.
Decisions on whether, when and in what amounts to continue making any future dividend distributions will remain at all times entirely at the discretion of the Company’s Board of Directors, which reserves the right to change or terminate the Company’s dividend practices at any time and for any reason without prior notice. The payment of cash dividends in the future will be based upon a number of business, legal and other considerations, including our cash flow from operations, capital expenditures, debt service and covenant requirements, cash paid for income taxes, earnings, share repurchases, economic conditions and U.S. and global liquidity.
Share Repurchase Program
The Company’s share repurchases during each fiscal month of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 were as follows:
Total Number of Shares Purchased
Average Price Paid
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
(or Approximate Dollar Value) of Shares That May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs
November 3, 2019 to November 30, 2019
December 1, 2019 to January 4, 2020
January 5, 2020 to February 1, 2020
On June 26, 2012, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized a program to repurchase, from time-to-time and as market and business conditions warrant, up to $500 million of the Company’s common stock. Repurchases under the program may be made on the open market or in privately negotiated transactions, pursuant to Rule 10b5-1 trading plans or other available means. There is no minimum or maximum number of shares to be repurchased under the program, which may be discontinued at any time, without prior notice.
Consists of shares surrendered to, or withheld by, the Company in satisfaction of employee tax withholding obligations that occur upon vesting of restricted stock awards/units granted under the Company’s 2004 Equity Incentive Plan, as amended.
The Stock Price Performance Graph below compares the cumulative stockholder return of the Company with that of the S&P 500 Index (a broad equity market index) and the S&P 1500 Apparel Retail Index (a published industry index) over the five fiscal years beginning January 31, 2015. The return on investment is calculated based on an investment of $100 on January 31, 2015, with dividends, if any, reinvested. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.
COMPARISON OF FIVE YEAR TOTAL RETURN
AMONG GUESS?, INC.,
S&P 500 INDEX AND S&P 1500 APPAREL RETAIL INDEX
S&P 1500 Apparel Retail Index
S&P 500 Index
ITEM 6. Selected Financial Data.
The selected financial data set forth below has been derived from the audited Consolidated Financial Statements of the Company and the related notes thereto. The following selected financial data should be read in conjunction with the Company’s Consolidated Financial Statements and the related notes contained herein and with “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for information regarding accounting changes and other items affecting comparability.
(in thousands, except per share data)
Statements of income (loss) data:
Earnings from operations2,3,4,5,6,7,8
Income tax expense9
Net earnings (loss) attributable to Guess?, Inc.2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11
Net earnings (loss) per common share attributable to common stockholders2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12:
Dividends declared per common share
Weighted average common shares outstanding—basic
Weighted average common shares outstanding—diluted
Balance sheet data:
Long-term debt, including convertible senior notes, net, borrowings and finance lease obligations10
The Company operates on a 52/53-week fiscal year calendar, which ends on the Saturday nearest to January 31 of each year. The results for fiscal 2018 included the impact of an additional week which occurred during the fourth quarter ended February 3, 2018.
During each of the years presented, the Company recognized asset impairment charges related primarily to impairment of certain retail locations resulting from under-performance and expected store closures. During fiscal 2020, asset impairment charges also included impairment charges related to goodwill associated with the Company’s China retail reporting unit and impairment charges related to certain operating lease right-of-use assets. Asset impairment charges recognized were approximately $10.0 million in fiscal 2020, $6.9 million in fiscal 2019, $8.5 million in fiscal 2018, $34.4 million in fiscal 2017 and $2.3 million in fiscal 2016. Refer to “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 5 – Property and Equipment,” “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 6 – Goodwill” and “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 9 – Lease Accounting” in this Form 10-K for further detail.
During fiscal 2019, the Company incurred net gains on lease terminations of $0.5 million related primarily to the early termination of certain lease agreements in North America. During fiscal 2018, the Company incurred net losses on lease terminations of $11.4 million related primarily to the modification of certain lease agreements held with a common landlord
in North America. During fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2016, the Company recorded net gains on lease terminations of $0.7 million and $2.3 million, respectively, related primarily to the early termination of certain lease agreements in Europe.
During fiscal 2020, fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2018, the Company incurred certain professional service and legal fees and related (credits) costs of ($0.9) million, $6.1 million and $0.5 million, respectively.
During fiscal 2019, the Company announced the departure of its former Chief Executive Officer and the terms of his separation. As a result, the Company recorded $5.2 million in separation-related charges during fiscal 2019. The Company also recorded $0.4 million during fiscal 2020 mainly related to non-cash stock-based compensation expense resulting from changes in expected performance conditions of certain previously granted stock awards that were no longer subject to service vesting requirements after his departure.
During fiscal 2019, the Company incurred charges of €39.8 million ($45.6 million) for a fine imposed by the European Commission related to alleged violations of European Union competition rules by the Company. The Company paid the full amount of the fine during the first quarter of fiscal 2020.
During fiscal 2017, the Company incurred restructuring charges of $6.1 million.
During fiscal 2016, the Company recognized a $1.7 million curtailment gain, before taxes, related to an amendment that accelerated the amortization of the prior service credit.
During fiscal 2019, the Company incurred additional expense of $6.3 million related to revising the provisional amounts previously recorded related to deemed repatriation of foreign earnings related to the Tax Reform. During fiscal 2018, the Company recognized additional tax expense of $47.9 million related to the enactment of the Tax Reform. This was comprised of a $24.9 million charge for the provisional re-measurement of certain deferred taxes and related amounts and a provisional charge of $23.0 million to income tax expense for the estimated effects of the transitional tax on the deemed repatriation of foreign earnings. During fiscal 2017, the Company recorded valuation reserves of $6.8 million resulting from jurisdictions where there were cumulative net operating losses, limiting the Company’s ability to consider other subjective evidence to continue to recognize the existing deferred tax assets. During fiscal 2017, the Company also recorded an estimated exit tax charge of $1.9 million related to the Company’s reorganization in Europe as a result of its global cost reduction and restructuring plan. Refer to “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 12 – Income Taxes” in this Form 10-K for further detail.
In April 2019, the Company issued $300 million principal amount of 2.00% convertible senior notes due 2024 (the “Notes”) in a private offering. The Company has separated the Notes into liability (debt) and equity (conversion option) components. The debt discount, which represents an amount equal to the fair value of the equity component, will be amortized as non-cash interest expense over the term of the Notes. During fiscal 2020, the Company recognized $7.6 million related to the amortization of the debt discount on the Company’s convertible senior notes. The Company used substantially all of the net proceeds from the Notes (after the related hedge and warrant transactions) to repurchase shares of its common stock. Per common share amounts for fiscal 2020 reflect the net impact of share repurchases (including those made through our accelerated share repurchase program), cash interest expense and amortization of debt discount and debt issuance costs. Refer to “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 10 – Convertible Senior Notes and Related Transactions” and “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 23 – Share Repurchase Program” in this Form 10-K for further detail.
During fiscal 2017, the Company sold its minority interest equity holding in a privately-held boutique apparel company for net proceeds of approximately $34.8 million, which resulted in a gain of approximately $22.3 million which was recorded in other income.
Holders of the Company’s restricted stock awards are not required to participate in losses of the Company. Accordingly, in periods in which the Company reported a net loss, such losses were not allocated to these participating securities, and as a result, basic and diluted net loss per share were the same in those periods.
During fiscal 2020, the Company adopted a comprehensive new lease standard which superseded previous lease guidance using a modified retrospective method that does not restate prior periods to be comparable to current period presentation. The standard requires a lessee to recognize an asset related to the right to use the underlying asset and a liability that approximates the present value of the lease payments over the term of contracts that qualify as leases under the new guidance. The adoption of the standard resulted in the recording of operating lease right-of-use assets (which were classified as long-term assets) and operating lease liabilities (of which a portion was classified as current liabilities with the remaining classified as long-term liabilities depending on the timing of the respective lease payments). In addition, other assets no longer includes lease acquisition costs and other long-term liabilities no longer includes deferred rent and unamortized lease incentives since these items are now included in operating lease right-of-use assets due to the adoption of the new standard. Refer to “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 2 – New Accounting Guidance” and “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 9 – Lease Accounting” in this Form 10-K for further detail.
ITEM 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
Unless the context indicates otherwise, when we refer to “we,” “us,” “our” or the “Company” in this Form 10‑K, we are referring to Guess?, Inc. and its subsidiaries on a consolidated basis.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant negative impact on the Company’s financial performance. The pandemic is ongoing and dynamic in nature and, to date, the Company has experienced temporary closures in key regions globally, along with other major retailers. For example, the Company announced the temporary closure of its retail stores in the United States and Canada as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, following similar temporary closures of Guess-operated stores that are currently in place in a number of countries in Europe. In Asia, where store closures related to COVID-19 began, most of the Guess-operated stores have reopened, although to significantly lower traffic. The Company’s e-commerce sites currently remain open in all regions. In addition, retail stores and e-commerce sites that are open have and continue to experience significant reductions in traffic and therefore, revenue. We are unable to determine with any degree of accuracy the length and severity of the crisis and we do expect it will have a material impact on our consolidated financial position, consolidated results of operations, and consolidated cash flows in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. The extent and duration of the crisis remains uncertain and may impact consumer purchasing activity if disruptions continue throughout the year which could continue to impact us.
Due to the developing situation, the results of the first quarter ending May 2, 2020 and the full fiscal year ending January 30, 2021 could be impacted in ways we are not able to predict today, including, but not limited to, non-cash write-downs and impairments; unrealized gains or losses related to investments; foreign currency fluctuations; and collections of accounts receivables.
During March 2020, as a precautionary measure to ensure financial flexibility and maintain maximum liquidity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company drew down approximately $212 million under certain of its credit facilities in the U.S., Canada and Europe. In addition, in March 2020, we announced that, in light of uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we had decided to postpone our decision related to the potential declaration of a quarterly cash dividend for the first quarter of fiscal 2021.
The Company is also implementing a number of other measures to help mitigate the operating and financial impact of the pandemic, including: (i) furloughing all of its U.S. and Canada store associates and significant portions of its U.S. and Canada corporate and distribution center associates starting April 2, 2020; (ii) implementing temporary tiered salary reductions for management level corporate employees, including its executive officers; (iii) deferring annual merit increases; (iv) executing substantial reductions in expenses, store occupancy costs, capital expenditures and overall costs, including through reduced inventory purchases; and (v) working globally with country management teams to maximize the Company’s participation in all eligible government or other initiatives available to businesses or employees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Company’s businesses are grouped into five reportable segments for management and internal financial reporting purposes: Americas Retail, Americas Wholesale, Europe, Asia and Licensing. Management evaluates segment performance based primarily on revenues and earnings (loss) from operations before corporate performance-based compensation costs, asset impairment charges, net gains (losses) from lease terminations, restructuring charges and certain non-recurring credits (charges), if any. The Americas Retail segment includes the Company’s retail and e-commerce operations in the Americas. The Americas Wholesale segment includes the Company’s wholesale operations in the Americas. The Europe segment includes the Company’s retail, e-commerce and wholesale operations in Europe and the Middle East. The Asia segment includes the Company’s retail, e-commerce and wholesale operations in Asia and the Pacific. The Licensing segment includes the worldwide licensing operations of the Company. The business segment operating results exclude corporate overhead costs, which consist of shared costs of the organization, asset impairment charges, net gains (losses) on lease terminations, restructuring charges and certain non-recurring credits (charges), if any. Corporate overhead costs are presented separately and generally include, among other things, the following unallocated corporate costs: accounting and finance, executive compensation, corporate performance-based compensation, facilities, global advertising and marketing, human resources, information technology and legal.
Information regarding these segments is summarized in “Part IV. Financial Statements – Note 18 – Segment Information” in this Form 10-K.
We derive our net revenue from the sale of GUESS?, G by GUESS (GbG), GUESS Kids and MARCIANO apparel and our licensees’ products through our worldwide network of directly-operated and licensed retail stores, wholesale customers and distributors, as well as our online sites. We also derive royalty revenue from worldwide licensing activities.
Foreign Currency Volatility
Since the majority of our international operations are conducted in currencies other than the U.S. dollar (primarily the British pound, Canadian dollar, Chinese yuan, euro, Japanese yen, Korean won, Mexican peso, Polish zloty, Russian rouble and Turkish lira), currency fluctuations can have a significant impact on the translation of our international revenues and earnings (loss) into U.S. dollar amounts.
Some of our transactions that occur primarily in Europe, Canada, South Korea, China and Mexico are denominated in U.S. dollars, Swiss francs, British pounds and Russian roubles, exposing them to exchange rate fluctuations when these transactions (such as inventory purchases or periodic lease payments) are converted to their functional currencies. As a result, fluctuations in exchange rates can impact the operating margins of our foreign operations and reported earnings (loss), and are largely dependent on the transaction timing and magnitude during the period that the currency fluctuates. In addition, there are certain real estate leases which are denominated in a currency other than the functional currency of the respective entity that entered into the agreement (primarily Swiss francs, Russian roubles and Polish zloty). As a result, the Company may be exposed to volatility related to unrealized gains or losses on the translation of present value of future lease payment obligations when translated at the exchange rate as of a reporting period-end. When these foreign exchange rates weaken versus the U.S. dollar at the time the respective U.S. dollar denominated payment is made relative to the payments made in the comparable period, our product margins could be unfavorably impacted.
During fiscal 2020, the average U.S. dollar rate was stronger against the British pound, Canadian dollar, Chinese yuan, euro, Korean won, Polish zloty, Russian rouble and Turkish lira and weaker against the Japanese yen and Mexican peso compared to the average rate in fiscal 2019. This had an overall unfavorable impact on the translation of our international revenues and earnings from operations during fiscal 2020 compared to the prior year.
If the U.S. dollar strengthens relative to the respective fiscal 2020 foreign exchange rates, foreign exchange could negatively impact our revenues and operating results, as well as our international cash and other balance sheet items during fiscal 2021, particularly in Canada, Europe (primarily the euro, British pound, Turkish lira and Russian rouble) and Mexico. Alternatively, if the U.S. dollar weakens relative to the respective fiscal 2020 foreign exchange rates, our revenues and operating results, as well as our other cash balance sheet items, could be positively impacted by foreign currency fluctuations during fiscal 2021, particularly in these regions.
The Company enters into derivative financial instruments to offset some but not all of the exchange risk on foreign currency transactions. For additional discussion regarding our exposure to foreign currency risk, forward contracts designated as hedging instruments and forward contracts not designated as hedging instruments, refer to “Part II, Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.”
In December 2019, Carlos Alberini shared his strategic vision and implementation plan for execution which includes the identification of several key priorities to drive revenue and operating profit growth over the next five years. These priorities are: (i) brand relevancy; (ii) customer centricity; (iii) global footprint; (iv) product excellence; and (v) functional capabilities; each as further described below:
Brand Relevancy. We plan to optimize our brand architecture to be relevant with our three target consumer groups: Heritage, Millennials, and Generation Z. We will continue to execute celebrity and influencer partnerships and collaborations, as we believe that they are critical to engage more effectively with a younger and broader audience.
Customer Centricity. We intend to place the customer at the center of everything we do. We plan to implement processes and platforms to provide our customers with a seamless omni-channel experience.
Global Footprint. We will continue to expand the reach of our brands by optimizing the productivity and profitability of our current footprint and expanding our distribution channels.
Product Excellence. We will extend our product offering to provide our customers with products for the different occasions of their lifestyles. We will seek to better address local product needs.
Functional Capabilities. We expect to drive material operational improvements in the next five years to leverage and support our global business more effectively, primarily in the areas of logistics, sourcing, product development and production, inventory management, and overall infrastructure.
We plan to continue to prioritize capital allocation toward investments that support growth and infrastructure, while remaining highly disciplined in the way we allocate capital across projects, including new store development, store remodels, technology investments and others. When we prioritize investments, we will focus on their strategic significance and their return on invested capital expectations. We also plan to manage product buys and inventory ownership rigorously and optimize overall working capital management consistently.
During the first quarter of fiscal 2020, the Company announced that its Board of Directors reduced the future quarterly cash dividends that may be paid to holders of the Company’s common stock, when, as and if any such dividend is declared by the Company’s Board of Directors, from $0.225 per share to $0.1125 per share to redeploy capital and return incremental value to shareholders through share repurchases. In April 2019, the Company issued $300 million aggregate principal amount of 2.00% convertible senior notes due 2024 in a private offering. During the first quarter of fiscal 2020, the Company used $170 million of proceeds from its convertible senior notes to enter into an accelerated share repurchase program (“ASR Contract”). The Company also repurchased shares of its common stock in open market and privately negotiated transactions totaling $118.1 million during fiscal 2020.
Comparable Store Sales
The Company reports National Retail Federation calendar comparable store sales on a quarterly basis for our retail businesses which include the combined results from our brick-and-mortar retail stores and our e-commerce sites. We also separately report the impact of e-commerce sales on our comparable store sales metric. As a result of our omni-channel strategy, our e-commerce business has become strongly intertwined with our brick-and-mortar retail store business. Therefore, we believe that the inclusion of e-commerce sales in our comparable store sales metric provides a more meaningful representation of our retail results.
Sales from our brick-and-mortar retail stores include purchases that are initiated, paid for and fulfilled at our retail stores and directly operated concessions as well as merchandise that is reserved online but paid for and picked-up at our retail stores. Sales from our e-commerce sites include purchases that are initiated and paid for online and shipped from either our distribution centers or our retail stores as well as purchases that are initiated in a retail store, but due to inventory availability at the retail store, are ordered and paid for online and shipped from our distribution centers or picked-up from a different retail store.
Store sales are considered comparable after the store has been open for 13 full fiscal months. If a store remodel results in a square footage change of more than 15%, or involves a relocation or a change in store concept, the store sales are removed from the comparable store base until the store has been opened at its new size, in its new location or under its new concept for 13 full fiscal months. Stores that are permanently closed or temporarily closed for more than seven days in any fiscal month are excluded from the calculation in the fiscal month that they are closed. E-commerce sales are considered comparable after the online site has been operational in a country for 13 full fiscal months and exclude any related revenue from shipping fees. These criteria are consistent with the metric used by management for internal reporting and analysis to measure performance of the store or online sites. Definitions and calculations of comparable store sales used by the Company may differ from similarly titled measures reported by other companies.
Net earnings attributable to Guess?, Inc. were $96.0 million, or diluted earnings of $1.33 per common share, for fiscal 2020, compared to net earnings attributable to Guess?, Inc. of $14.1 million, or diluted earnings of $0.16 per common share for fiscal 2019.
During fiscal 2020, the Company recognized $10.0 million of asset impairment charges; a net credit of $0.9 million of certain professional service and legal fees and related costs; $0.4 million of CEO separation charges and $7.6 million of amortization of debt discount related to the Company’s convertible senior notes (or a combined $9.1 million after considering the related tax benefit of these adjustments as well as the impact from changes in the tax law on deferred taxes in certain tax jurisdictions, net tax settlements and adjustments to specific uncertain tax positions totaling $8.1 million), or an unfavorable $0.12 per share impact. Excluding the impact of these items, adjusted net earnings attributable to Guess?, Inc. were $105.0 million and adjusted diluted earnings were $1.45 per common share for fiscal 2020. During fiscal 2019, the Company recognized €39.8 million ($45.6 million) related to a fine imposed by the European Commission; $6.9 million of asset impairment charges; $0.5 million of net gains on lease terminations; $6.1 million of certain professional service and legal fees and related costs, $5.2 million of CEO separation charges and $6.3 million in total income tax charges related to the enactment of the Tax Reform (or a combined $66.3 million after considering the related tax benefit of $3.4 million), or an unfavorable $0.82 per share impact. Excluding the impact of these items, adjusted net earnings attributable to Guess?, Inc. were $80.4 million and adjusted diluted earnings were $0.98 per common share for fiscal 2019. References to financial results excluding the impact of these items are non-GAAP measures and are addressed below under “Non-GAAP Measures.”
Highlights of the Company’s performance for fiscal 2020 compared to the prior year are presented below, followed by a more comprehensive discussion under “Results of Operations”:
Total net revenue increased 2.6% to $2.68 billion for fiscal 2020, compared to $2.61 billion in the prior year. In constant currency, net revenue increased by 5.4%.
Gross margin (gross profit as a percentage of total net revenue) increased 190 basis points to 37.9% for fiscal 2020, compared to 36.0% in the prior year.
Selling, general and administrative (“SG&A”) expenses as a percentage of total net revenue (“SG&A rate”) increased 20 basis points to 32.2% for fiscal 2020, compared to 32.0% in the prior year. SG&A expenses increased 3.6% to $865.1 million for fiscal 2020, compared to $835.3 million in the prior year.
During fiscal 2019, the Company recognized charges of €39.8 million ($45.6 million) for a fine imposed by the European Commission related to alleged violations of European Union competition rules by the Company. The Company paid the full amount of the fine during the first quarter of fiscal 2020.
During fiscal 2020, the Company recognized asset impairment charges of $10.0 million, compared to $6.9 million in the prior year.
During fiscal 2019, the Company recognized net gains on lease terminations of $0.5 million.
Operating margin increased 330 basis points to 5.3% for fiscal 2020, compared to 2.0% in the prior year. The European Commission fine unfavorably impacted operating margin by 170 basis points during fiscal 2019. Lower expenses related to certain professional service and legal fees and related (credits) costs recorded during fiscal 2020 favorably impacted operating margin by 30 basis points compared to the prior year. Lower CEO separation charges recorded during fiscal 2020 favorably impacted operating margin by 20 basis points compared to the prior year. Higher asset impairment charges recorded during fiscal 2020 unfavorably impacted operating margin by 10 basis points compared to the prior year. Earnings from operations increased 169.4% to $140.7 million for fiscal 2020, compared to $52.2 million in the prior year.
Other expense, net (including interest income and expense) totaled $16.9 million for fiscal 2020, compared to $5.5 million in the prior year.
The effective income tax rate decreased to 18.2% for fiscal 2020, compared to 63.2% in the prior year. During fiscal 2019, the Company revised the provisional amounts previously recorded related to the impact of the Tax Reform and recorded income tax charges totaling $6.3 million.
Key Balance Sheet Accounts
The Company had $284.6 million in cash and cash equivalents and $0.2 million in restricted cash as of February 1, 2020, compared to $210.5 million in cash and cash equivalents and $0.5 million in restricted cash at February 2, 2019.
During fiscal 2019, the Company recognized charges of €39.8 million ($45.6 million) for a fine imposed by the European Commission related to alleged violations of European Union competition rules by the Company. The Company paid the full amount of the fine during the first quarter of fiscal 2020.
In April 2019, the Company issued $300 million aggregate principal amount of 2.00% convertible senior notes due 2024 in a private offering, for which it received total cash proceeds of $296.2 million, net of initial purchasers’ discounts and commissions and offering costs of $3.8 million. In connection with the issuance of these notes, the Company (i) entered into convertible note hedge transactions for which it paid an aggregate $61.0 million and (ii) sold warrants for which it received aggregate proceeds of $28.1 million. These transactions are intended to reduce the potential dilution with respect to the Company’s common stock upon conversion of the notes and/or offset any cash payments the Company may be required to make in excess of the principal amount of the converted notes.
During fiscal 2020, the Company used $170 million of proceeds from its convertible senior notes to enter into an ASR Contract, pursuant to which it received a total of approximately 10.6 million shares. During fiscal 2020, the Company also repurchased approximately 6.1 million shares of its common stock in open market and privately negotiated transactions totaling $118.1 million (including commissions). When combined, these transactions resulted in the Company investing $288.1 million to repurchase approximately 16.7 million of its common shares in fiscal 2020. During fiscal 2019, the Company invested $17.6 million to repurchase approximately 1.1 million of its common shares. The Company also paid an additional $6.0 million for shares that were repurchased during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 but were settled during the first quarter of fiscal 2019.
The Company, through its subsidiaries in Europe and China, maintains short-term committed and uncommitted borrowing agreements primarily for working capital purposes. The Company had $4.0 million in outstanding borrowings as of February 1, 2020 and no outstanding borrowings under these agreements at February 2, 2019.
Accounts receivable consists of trade receivables relating primarily to the Company’