Liz Claiborne Narrows 4Q Loss on Tighter Expenses

Helped by lower costs and improved domestic sales, Liz Claiborne (NYSE:LIZ) revealed a narrowed fourth-quarter loss, though ailing demand for its international and partnered brands weighed on the results.

The New York-based retailer, which hasn't posted a profit for several years, posted a net loss of $30.2 million, or 32 cents a share, compared with $42 million, or 45 cents, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding one-time items, the company lost 3 cents a share, slightly better than average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 17 cents.

Revenue for the clothier, operating under brands such as Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand and Kate Spade, was $703.7 million, down 7% from $756.5 million a year ago, beating the Street’s view of $683.62 million.

Sales were negatively impacted by softer demand in its Liz Claiborne family of brands as it transitioned to the licensing models under the JCPenney (NYSE:JCP) and QVC, as well as lower sales in its international-based direct-brands segment, which includes Mexx Europe and Mexx Canada.

The company’s partnered brands, which include e-commerce operations of its Liz Claiborne family of brands, Monet brands, Dana Buchman and licensed DKNY brands, tumbled 33% during the quarter to $68 million.

Partially offsetting the weaker revenues was a 7.3% increase in domestic-based direct brands as well as lower costs. Selling, general and administration expenses narrowed to $378 million from $478 million in the year-earlier period, helped by initiatives intended to streamline activities.