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2010 is all about operational excellence, Liz CEO
26
Feb '10
Liz Claiborne Inc. announced earnings for the fourth quarter and full year 2009. Unless otherwise noted, references to loss from continuing operations, net loss and adjusted loss or income from continuing operations and associated per share amounts refer to such amounts attributable to Liz Claiborne Inc. For the fourth quarter of 2009 and on a GAAP basis, the loss per share from continuing operations was ($0.45) compared to a loss per share from continuing operations of ($8.36) for the fourth quarter of 2008. Adjusted loss per share from continuing operations for the fourth quarter was ($0.18) compared to an adjusted loss per share from continuing operations of ($0.04) for the fourth quarter of 2008. Net sales for the fourth quarter were $779 million, a decrease of $132 million, or 14.5%, from the comparable 2008 period.

For the full year 2009, we recorded an operating loss of ($335) million compared to an operating loss of ($734) million in 2008. Adjusted operating loss for the full year 2009 was ($136) million compared to adjusted operating income of $130 million in 2008. The Company recorded a loss from continuing operations in the full year 2009 of ($294) million, or ($3.13) per share, compared to a loss from continuing operations in 2008 of ($813) million, or ($8.69) per share. Adjusted loss per share from continuing operations in the full year 2009 was ($1.46) compared to adjusted diluted EPS from continuing operations of $0.80 in 2008. Net sales for the full year 2009 were approximately $3.012 billion, a decrease of $973 million, or 24.4%, from the comparable 2008 period.

The adjusted results for the fourth quarter and full year 2009 and 2008 exclude the impact of expenses incurred in connection with the Company's streamlining initiatives and brand-exiting activities and non-cash goodwill and other intangible asset impairment charges. The Company believes that the adjusted results for the fourth quarter and full year 2009 and 2008 represent a more meaningful presentation of its historical operations and financial performance since these results provide period to period comparisons that are consistent and more easily understood. The attached tables, captioned "Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Information", provide a full reconciliation of actual results to the adjusted results.

William L. McComb, Chief Executive Officer of Liz Claiborne Inc., said: "Our financial results in the fourth quarter reflect progress in our domestic-based direct brands, evidenced by the improvement in comparable store sales trends and gross margins at Kate Spade, Juicy Couture and Lucky Brand Jeans -- resulting in a profitable quarter for this business segment. In contrast, the Mexx business in Europe posted a meaningful loss during the quarter. We are pleased that a new management team has hit the ground running at Mexx, and is quickly addressing core product and other operational issues that are causing this loss."

Mr. McComb continued, "In the fourth quarter, we continued to strengthen our balance sheet, as we managed our inventories aggressively, reduced total debt outstanding to $658 million, and achieved our targeted reduction in SG&A for the year. Cash flow from continuing operating activities was $224 million for the full fiscal year, resulting in availability of $222 million under our revolving credit facility -- a major accomplishment for a company that only one year ago was working to secure long term financing. Furthermore, as a result of Federal tax legislation passed in the fourth quarter, we expect to receive a significant 2009 Federal tax refund of $167 million by the end of the first quarter of 2010 which will be used to further reduce debt."

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